Metro Weekly

Texas school board candidate who called Obama a gay prostitute loses election

Mary Lou Bruner loses in an upset after her inflammatory Facebook posts come to light

Credit: Mary Lou Bruner

Credit: Mary Lou Bruner

A retired schoolteacher and Republican candidate for the Texas State Board of Education who said President Barack Obama worked as a gay prostitute in his 20s to fuel his drug habit lost her primary runoff on Tuesday night in a major upset.

Mary Lou Bruner was defeated by Lufkin-area chiropractor Keven Ellis after having almost won the primary outright on March 1, The Texas Tribune reports. In that three-way contest, Bruner received more than 48 percent of the vote, just a few thousand votes short of the 50 percent needed to be declared the winner.

But Bruner’s electoral success began to attract attention, particularly her Facebook feed, which was chock-full of conspiracy theories, including claims that the United Nations is part of an Illuminati plot to seize control over state and local governments, and that the Democratic Party was responsible for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, as outlined in this expose by Slate — who once dubbed her the “looniest politician in Texas.

On her campaign website, Bruner promised that she would “promote conservative curriculum standards aligned with Texas values” and at one point railed against young people’s rejection of “Judeo-Christian family values,” including some veiled references to same-sex marriage.

Fortunately for the schoolchildren of Texas, Bruner’s out-of-the-mainstream views eventually doomed her candidacy. While she was the darling of several socially conservative groups, she lost the endorsement of Grassroots America — We the People, a Tea Party group, which rescinded its support of her campaign after she made inaccurate statements on the campaign trail and refused to correct them. One such claim was that half of all public school students were in special education. Other educators also rallied against Bruner’s candidacy, trying to convince people that she would embarrass the district should she win the school board seat.

“Texas escaped an education train wreck tonight,” Kathy Miller, the president of the Texas Freedom Network, a left-leaning group that monitors the Board of Education’s activities, told the Tribune. “If Bruner had ultimately won election to the board, she would have instantly become the most embarrassingly uninformed and divisive member on a board that already too often puts politics ahead of making sure our kids get a sound education.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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