SBOE 10: Radical Cynthia Dunbar Wants to Leave; Appoint Successor

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The good news: Apparently, super right wing radical Cynthia Dunbar will not run for reelection in 2010 to the State Board of Education's 10th District.  This is great news for Texas, as well as for those in Austin and elsewhere who live in the district.  She only disrupts and distracts from potential progress in education.

The bad news: Ms. Dunbar plans to pick her successor.

Via the Quorum Report:


SREC member Brian Russell says she recruited him to run for her open seat.

Republican Cynthia Dunbar, a lightning rod for controversy on the State Board of Education for her ultra-conservative views, appears to have told supporters she will not run for a second term on the board and likely will be replaced on the ballot by Austin intellectual property attorney Brian Russell, who currently serves on the State Republican Executive Committee.

Another clue she may not be running: Her website,, brings you to a pretty looking website that mentions the State Board of Education relatively little.  Completely ignored is, which directs you to a campaign site as of this posting.

He may not be quite as virally appalling as Ms. Dunbar or her colleague Don McLeroy, but  Brian Russell is also a Christian Conservative that would put politics before education.

A few facts about Mr. Russell:

Hopefully, the Republican primary voters will pass on Mr. Russell.  The party has a reasonable looking candidate in Rebecca Osborne.  Unfortunately, she no longer has Cynthia Dunbar's absolutely repugnant record to fight against.  And Republican primaries tend to favor the more conservative.

That also means that the Democratic candidate also won't be able to fight against such repulsiveness.  With Lorenzo Sadun stepping aside, now could be a prime opportunity to help Judy Jennings.  She's currently the only Democratic candidate for the SBOE 10 seat, which is the only seat Democrats can reasonably hope to gain in 2010 .  Right now, it looks like we'll need our candidate to be strong.  We need a candidate that will win over Texans in the fight for truly better schools.

Update: We still do not have direct confirmation that Dunbar will step aside, but the Statesman has it that, in an email, she said a statement would be released later.  They also hear from other SBOE member David Bradley that she will not be returning.

Update by Matt: This statement just came in from Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller:

“If this report is accurate, then it appears that Cynthia Dunbar realized her extremist track record made her a damaged brand in next year's election. But the only difference between her and Russell is she wrote a book savaging public education and he hasn't done that yet. Nobody should be fooled here. He holds the same anti-science and extremist views that Dunbar does, which is why she recruited him to run for her seat.”

In her 2008 book, One Nation Under God, Dunbar called public education a “subtle tool of perversion,” “tyrannical” and unconstitutional. During the 2008 president election, Dunbar attacked then-candidate Barack Obama as a Marxist and a terrorist sympathizer who wanted another attack on America so that he could declare martial law and throw out the Constitution. Dunbar has also been a leader of efforts by the State Board of Education's far-right faction to politicize our children's social studies classrooms and to promote creationist arguments against evolution in science classrooms.

In March of this year Russell successfully persuaded the State Republican Executive Committee to pass a resolution demanding that all Republican state board members obey the Texas GOP platform by supporting creationist arguments against evolution in new public school science curriculum standards. He also has served as treasurer of Legacy PAC, a Christian-right political action committee. In 2004 he served on a committee that drafted the Texas Republican Party platform, which called separation of church and state a “myth,” demanded that public schools teach “intelligent design”/creationism in science classrooms and opposed including medically accurate information on contraception and disease prevention in sex education classes.


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  1. good to know
    This is good to know, and very encouraging. Hopefully Mrs. Dunbar saw the writing on the walk that you can't go being crazy and saying crazy stuff or people will start paying attention. Hopefully people won't stop paying attention to this race. No matter who is running, it's important we get high-quality dedicated and non-crazy SBOE representative in each and every district, no matter their affiliation. The children don't deserve some of the wacko who are on there and have been on there.

    Not that I don't trust the QR, but I'd like to see a confirmation from her campaign or from other sources to confirm her decision.

      • Statesman is now confirming
        The Statesman posted in the politics blog a post almost 2 hours ago confirming, through another SBOE right winger, that Dunbar will indeed not run for re-election.

  2. gop primary
    I dont usually advocate this, but knowing she is leaving do we know anyone who would be willing to run in the GOP primary against the wing nut we could recruit ourselves? Then you get rid of Dunbar and Russell in one fell swoop.

    • You musta read over it
      I linked to Rebecca Osborne's site.  She was already running in the Republican primary to challenge Dunbar.  She seems pretty normal to me.

      I plan on emailing my super-Republican relatives in the district suggesting they vote for her.

  3. Fine Bottled Water on

    For what it matters …
    Her website has looked like that for quite some time.  The relative lack of SBOE stuff isn't anything new.

  4. SBOE5 is also worth fighting for
    Dunbar's stepping aside makes the job harder for us, but the basic game plan in SBOE10 hasn't changed.  Run against Dunbar's craziness, get people upset about what's been happening at the SBOE, and paint Russell as more of the same (which he is).

    I've argued for months that SBOE10 is a swing district that Democrats should win, one where Obama only lost by 2% and where the press has been quick to cover — and blast — each bit of nonsense that the far-right bloc has been pushing. That's as true as ever, and Judy Jennings is a very strong candidate to get it done. If you supported me, go out and support Judy! If you contributed to me, you'll get most of your contribution back in a few weeks — give it to Judy. (If you didn't support me, then help Judy anyway.)

    But SBOE10 isn't the only winnable district. SBOE5 is tougher, largely because of the demographics, but it's not out of reach. There are also two well-qualified Democrats (Rebecca Bell-Metereau and Dan Boone) and a reasonable Republican running against the incumbent, Ken Mercer.

    If there's a backlash against the SBOE's craziness — and there very well may be — then we stand a good chance to pick up both seats. We darn well better try!  

  5. Time to Back Jenning Now
    With the incumbent bowing out of the race, now its time to really get behind the best candidate, Judy Jennings.  

    Judy has the right experience and the right positions on policies.  She has a PHD in an education-related field and she's dedicated to making education better.  

    IMHO, based on the TFN's press release, Russell appears to be hand-picked by Dunbar precisely because he has all the same views as she does.  Now is the time to make sure that moderates take this seat back  Help Judy out of you can:

  6. RebeccaBellMetereau on

    Out with Dunbar, in with Jennings
    Cynthia Dunbar is an extremist that does not have the best interests of all Texas schoolchildren at heart.  She has used SBOE to promote her extreme opinions and interests.  Judy Jennings, the moderate candidate with a strong education background and a commitment to Texas public schools, would be a very competent replacement, and she has my full support.

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