7:40 – Polls in Texas closed at 7 p.m., Central time. Too early to see trends developing for State Board of Education races.
9:05 – The picture is becoming clearer now as we get more returns. On the Republican side, former SBOE board chair Gail Lowe in District 14 — one of the leaders of far-right faction — is behind 53%-47%. But only 16% of the vote has been counted in that race so far.
In District 15, which longtime member Bob Craig of Lubbock is leaving, Marty Rowley is narrowly ahead of Anette Carlisle, 51%-49% with 31% of the vote counted.
With about 23% of the vote counted in District 7, incumbent David Bradley — another key member of the board’s far-right faction — is leading challenger Rita Ashley 57%-43%.
Incumbent Thomas Ratliff, who defeated arch-creationist Don McLeroy in the 2010 GOP primary, is holding a lead of 53.5%-46.5% over challenger Randy Stevenson in the District 9 race.
In District 2, Laurie Turner is ahead of religious-righter Veronica Anzaldua 74%-26% with about 24% of the vote counted.
9:34 – On the Democratic side, the biggest surprise so far is that incumbent Michael Soto in District 3 is behind 66%-34% with 34% of the vote counted. Challenger Marisa B. Perez essentially ran no race. She filed only one campaign finance report — last week — and reported no money raised or spent. Something is very strange down there in San Antonio.
9:39 – Back on the Republican side, religious-righter Veronica Anzaldua in District 2 (South Texas) is far behind Laurie Turner with more than 44% of the vote in. In District 5, incumbent Ken “Cat-Dog” Mercer is way ahead of challenger Steve Salyer with 26% of the vote counted. With 40% of the votes counted in District 7, David Bradley’s lead over Rita Ashley is holding steady at 57%-43%. With nearly 30% in, a possible upset is brewing in District 14, where challenger Sue Melton of Waco is leading longtime incumbent Gail Lowe 53%-47%. With 61% of the vote counted, the District 15 seat is very close, with Marty Rowley holding a 51%-49% lead over Anette Carlisle.
10:22 – The percentage of precincts that have reported differs by a wide margin from district to district, but this is the ideological breakdown on the Republican side so far. Among the religious-right favorites:
- Barbara Cargill, Ken Mercer, David Bradley are ahead by large margins.
- Marty Rowley is narrowly leading over Anette Carlisle.
- Gail Lowe is still behind in her race.
- Gail Spurlock is in second place in a four-person race, fighting for a run-off spot against (apparently) Tincy Miller.
- Jeff Fleece is a distant third in a three-person race.
- Randy Stevenson is five points behind incumbent Thomas Ratliff.
- Veronica Anzaldua is far behind.
10:54 – On the Democratic side, there are five contested SBOE races.
- Martha Dominguez is leading in District 1 (West Texas) with 55%. The incumbent is Republican Charlie Garza, a member of the board’s far-right faction. He was unopposed for the GOP nomination.
- Celeste Sanchez and Ruben Cortez appear headed for a runoff in District 2 (South Texas).
- Marisa Perez scored a big upset over incumbent Michael Soto in District 3 (South Texas, including part of San Antonio).
- Traci Jensen is leading in District 6 (Houston) with 53% of the vote.
- Dexter Smith is leading with nearly 59% of the vote in District 8 (Houston and East Texas).
Late update: The final results mirror where things stood around 11 p.m. Of the nine Republicans backed by religious-right groups, four won their primaries (Bradley, Cargill, Mercer and Rowley), four lost (Lowe, Fleece, Stevenson and Anzaldua), and one (Spurlock) is headed to a runoff against Geraldine “Tincy” Miller. (At least one far-right candidate, District 1 incumbent Charlie Garza of El Paso, had no GOP opponent. He will face a Democrat in November.)
On the Democratic side, Martha Dominguez appears to have won without a runoff in the District 1 battle. Celeste Sanchez and Ruben Cortez are headed to a runoff for the District 2 Democratic nomination. Marisa Perez upset incumbent Michael Soto in District 3. Traci Jensen won the party nomination over two opponents in District 6, while Dexter Smith bested his opponent for the District 8 nod.
We’ll have more later.