According to unofficial data, all but a few of the 11 conservative education department candidates in Tarrant County who were supported this year by many high-profile contributors and big-money PACs trounced their rivals during Saturday’s local elections. The one candidate sponsored by the organizations who did not win outright goes to a June runoff election.
The school board contests in Grapevine-Colleyville, Keller, Mansfield, & Carroll were won by the ten candidates.
The candidates’ victory demonstrates that a sizable portion of the county’s voters agreed with their requests to ban so-called critical race theory in schools and remove literature about LGBTQ problems, which some parents have deemed “pornographic.” Critical race theory, a university-level topic that investigates the institutional histories of racism, is not addressed in elementary, middle, nor high school classes, according to education professionals, school administrators, and teachers, per a report.
The victories also demonstrate that the massive sums of money thrown into formerly low-profile and nonpartisan municipal contests have the desired effect. This year, parent-organized PACs and a newly created PAC from a self-proclaimed Christian cellular firm raised more than half a million dollars for local campaigns. They spent hundreds of thousands of $ on top political consulting companies, bolstering an anti-CRT agenda with fliers proclaiming that the candidates were “protecting America.”
This year’s school board contests in Texas, particularly in Tarrant County, have become hyper-politicized, with fights over COVID safety measures, library book restrictions, and racial issues and history taking place at school board meetings. Conservative parents and wealthy funders scrutinized the school board elections closely. Matt Rinaldi, the state GOP chairman, chimed in.
Patriot Mobile, a Texas-based mobile firm that contributes a part of its customers’ phone bills to conservative, “Christian” organizations, recently donated $500,000 to Patriot Mobile Action, its own political action committee. According to campaign records filed in April, the PAC spent nearly $390,000 on campaigns in the 4 Tarrant County districts. The PAC had around $125,000 in money on hand as the May 7 election neared, according to the same documents.
Each candidate from the Mansfield, Grapevine-Colleyville, & Keller school districts received at least $38,500 in marketing and canvassing from Patriot Mobile Action. On Saturday night, all of those competitors were successful.
Keziah Valdes Farrar, Bianca Benavides Anderson, & Courtney Lackey Wilson were endorsed by the PAC in Mansfield. Tammy Nakamura & Kathy Florence-Spradley, who was endorsed by the PAC, won their contests in Grapevine-Collevyille. Patriot Mobile Action endorsed Micah Young, Joni Shaw Smith, & Sandi Walker in the Keller races. Both teams won on Saturday night.
Patriot Mobile Action backed candidates Andrew Yeager & Alex Sexton for seats on the Carroll ISD board, which serves the city of Southlake.
Craig Tipping was the only PAC-backed candidate who did not win. He will face Benita C. Reed in a runoff on June 18.