‘Christocrat’ Rick Scarborough Forces Runoff Elections in His Effort to ‘Take Over’ Texas School Boards

In September, Right Wing Watch reported that Rick Scarborough, a self-described “Christocrat,” strident anti-LGBTQ activist, and longtime critic of public education, had begun raising money through his group Recover America to fund an effort to elect right-wing candidates to school boards in three Houston-area school districts. In October, Scarborough announced that if his group was successful in taking over these three school boards, he planned to raise millions of dollars to mobilize thousands of Texas pastors who will activate their congregations to ensure that conservative Christians “take over their local school boards” across the state.

In Tuesday’s election, five of the nine trustees on the Houston Independent School District board of education were up for reelection, and they were all targets of Scarborough’s effort. While Scarborough did not succeed in defeating any of them, four of them have been forced into runoff elections in December, which is required if no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote.

School board incumbents Elizabeth Santos, Sue Deigaard, Holly Flynn Vilaseca, Anne Sung, and Myrna Guidry were up for reelection; Guidry was the only one to clear the 50 percent requirement to secure reelection after Tuesday’s voting. While Santos, Deigaard, and Vilaseca all received the most votes in their respective races, none received enough votes to win outright, whereas Sung finished second to a challenger who did not secure 50 percent of the vote, meaning that all four will be headed into runoff elections in December.