Good News and Bad News In Texas

The results from yesterday’s primary elections in Texas were a mixed bag – first, the good news is that ultra-right-wing Board of Education member Don “I consider myself a Christian fundamentalist” McLeroy has reportedly lost his race:

Mount Pleasant Republican Thomas Ratliff narrowly beat State Board of Education member and prominent social conservative Don McLeroy in the GOP primary Tuesday, while long-time board member Geraldine Miller of Dallas was upset by Dallas high school educator George Clayton. Ratliff (right) and McLeroy were expected to have a close race, but Miller was favored in her contest because of a big edge in campaign funds and her long-time incumbency. She has served on the board since 1984 and never had a close election race before.

Ratliff waged a strong campaign and outspent McLeroy for the board seat, which represents Collin County and much of Northeast Texas, but McLeroy also ran a strong race as he tried to capitalize on recent victories by the social conservative bloc on the 15-member education board. Among the successes were changes in curriculum standards for science, history and English. Ratliff accused McLeroy and his allies of ignoring the advice of teachers and education groups in their decisions – and of politicizing the curriculum requirements such as on teaching of evolution in science classes. Ratliff, a legislative consultant and lobbyist, carried 50.5 percent of the vote

McLeroy had been bounced as chairman of the board last summer after Senate Democrats blocked his nomination, raising many of the same arguments as Ratliff, the son of former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff. His primary loss means one less seat for the social conservative bloc, which now holds seven seats.

Now for the bad news, which is the Rick Green appears to have secured enough support that he will be in a run-off election for a seat on the Texas Supreme Court:

As of early Wednesday morning, Rick Green has barely broken from the crowd of six GOP candidates vying for the open spot on the High Court, and a runoff is guaranteed … The former legislator is Green, who represented the Dripping Springs area in the Texas House from 1999 to 2003 and has no judicial experience. The libertarian-style campaign of Green has earned the endorsements of Chuck “Walker, Texas Ranger” Norris and conservative lawmakers including state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, and state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center. Green is also cozy with the Aledo-based organization WallBuilders, a group that wants to close the gap between church and state, and advocates for other causes that preserve America’s “moral, religious and constitutional heritage.”

That’s right, Green is currently David Barton’s right-hand man at WallBuilders, where he serves as a speaker and as Barton’s co-host of their daily “Wallbuilders Live” radio program. 

Despite the fact that Green has no judicial experience, he’s been endorsed by a who’s who of right-wingers, including Barton, Mat Staver, Kelly Shackelford, and even Steve Hotze, the vehemently anti-gay activist behind the attacks on Houston Mayor Annise Parker.  On top of that, Green also has a rather checkered history in public office:

While in the House from 1998 to 2002, Green drew fire for using his Capitol office as the backdrop for a health supplement infomercial. He also came under scrutiny for successfully arguing before the parole board for early release of a man convicted of defrauding investors (who just happened to have loaned $400,000 to Green’s father’s company); allegedly pressuring the state health department on behalf of ephedrine maker Metabolife International, one of his law firm’s clients; and squeezing lobbyists to pony up at a fundraiser for a private foundation he started. He made Texas Monthly’s list of the 10 worst legislators.

Green, who always denied any wrongdoing, cast himself as a fighter for traditional values. He still does, calling himself “a true Reagan conservative and strict constructionist.”

Green, R-Dripping Springs, was defeated in 2002 by Democrat Patrick Rose.

Their spirited and at times almost physical battle for the swing district seat in the Texas Hill Country was chronicled in “Last Man Standing: Politics, Texas Style,” a documentary by filmmaker Paul Stekler. And the hard feelings didn’t end there: In November 2006, Green was accused of assaulting Rose on election day at a polling place.

Green will most likely be facing off against Rebecca Simmons on April 13.