School board candidates backed by the anti-LGBTQ “parental rights” group Moms for Liberty lost multiple races across a handful of states in Tuesday’s election.
The group, which emerged out of parental opposition to school closures and masking mandates and began asserting themselves at school board meetings, quickly pivoted to opposing “critical race theory” — political speak for any race-related topics or policies that emphasize student equity or diversity — as well as policies protecting LGBTQ students from discrimination.
The group’s members have been active in challenging and seeking to remove from school library shelves any books with what they consider “inappropriate content,” including those that feature diverse characters or touch on issues of race, identity, gender, or sexuality.
They have also sought to punish or terminate teachers who do not acquiesce to their political agenda. Some have even gone so far as to file police reports against school district librarians, alleging that by allowing students to check out certain books, they are peddling “pornography.”
Campaigning on the issue of “parental rights,” the group had endorsed dozens of candidates in school board races in 11 different states, intending to oppose what its members see as an infringement on how they are choosing to raise their children and discourage school boards from adopting “woke” concepts or policies.
Unfortunately for Moms for Liberty, Tuesday was not nearly as successful as they had hoped.
In Virginia, MFL endorsed six candidates for office — four in the exurbs of Loudoun County, one in Prince William County, and one in Southwest Virginia’s Montgomery County. Five of those candidates — Michael Rivera, Chris Hodges, Joe Smith, Mark Miear, and Mario Beckles — lost their races, with only endorsee Deana Griffiths landing a seat on the Loudoun County School Board.
Similarly, in Iowa, nine of the 13 candidates endorsed by the group lost their respective elections, according to The Daily Beast.
Notably, three candidates endorsed by MFL lost their bids for seats on the Linn-Mar School Board — which has come under attack for a policy allowing trans or nonbinary students to craft a “gender support plan” that would ensure they are recognized and treated according to their gender identity.
Of all 13 endorsed candidates, only one — Nathan Gibson, who ran for a seat on the rural Interstate 35 School Board in Truro, Iowa — was elected.
Similar losses abounded in Minnesota, in North Carolina, in Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Notably, in Pennsylvania, in swingy, vote-rich Bucks County, just outside Philadelphia, the group officially endorsed only one candidate, Michael Hartline, who was successful in his bid for the Centennial School District board.
However, all other candidates who were listed in MFL’s “voter guide” lost their elections, including for the Central Bucks School District Board, which was thrust into the national spotlight after the current school board imposed several controversial policies, including efforts to ban “controversial” books, banning the display of Pride flags, and prohibiting teachers from advocating for LGBTQ inclusion.
Political analysts suggest that the more headline-grabbing actions of the group — particularly its efforts to censor books or push policies that target certain communities — have turned off voters.
“‘Parental rights’ is an appealing term, but voters have caught on to the reality that it is fueling book bans, anti-LGBT efforts, pressure on teachers not to discuss race and gender, whitewashing history, and so on,” Larry Sabato, a professor and political analyst for the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, told the Post.
“Parents may want more input in the schools, but as a group they certainly aren’t as extreme as many in the Moms for Liberty.”
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