Did George Clayton Lose His SBOE Seat Because He's Sane, Gay, or Had No Money?

clayton.jpg
George Clayton, a moderate member on the Texas State Board of Education, will be replaced by someone who's very conservative or someone who thinks Pilgrims are communists.
Two years ago, when George Clayton announced that he was seeking to represent Dallas and Collin countie on the State Board of Education, the first question was, "Who?" It soon became clear that Clayton was, on the surface at least, a mild-mannered administrator at North Dallas High School who believes wacky things like evolution should be taught in science class, which led to the second question about his SBOE bid: "Why?"

The SBOE is famous for cramming ridiculous things into school textbooks and having members that say outrageously regressive things, but the questions about why Clayton would want to join that circus in Austin was only academic, since he didn't stand a chance in the Republican primary fight against Geraldine "Tincy" Miller, who had maintained a stranglehold on the seat since 1984. But then Clayton, badly outspent and with little name recognition, pulled off a David-vs.-Goliath-style upset, unseating the previously bulletproof Miller.

And what's his track record been like since he was elected? He's been a conservative on the board, but a moderate one, said Dan Quinn, who heads communications for SBOE-watchdog the Texas Freedom Network.

"He's generally been a vote of sanity on the board most times," said Dan Quinn,

Now, after only two years since redistricting truncated what is typically a four-year term, Clayton is leaving office, having been elbowed out by social conservative Miller and an uber-social conservative Gail Spurlock. You might know her as the one who thinks Pilgrims were pinko commies.

Clayton was badly outspent by Miller, who put six figures of her own money into the campaign, but Spurlock didn't have any cash either so that doesn't totally explain the results. Quinn suggests that voters may have ousted Miller in 2010 in part because she had not been sufficiently conservative, opting for a relative unknown after she refused to back down on a pro-evolution stance. That would make her resurgence a return to the status quo. Clayton also waffled a bit over whether to run for re-election, announcing that he was seeking a state House seat but then, wait, no he wasn't.

Another factor that certainly didn't help Clayton in a conservative Texas district was a whisper campaign surrounding his sexuality. During the run-up to the election, rumors circulated that Clayton is gay.

Those rumors happen to be true, something Clayton didn't advertise but didn't exactly hide either. He shares his Richardson home with his partner of 30-plus years, Quinn said, so it's not exactly a secret. Still, a segment of the electorate that remains disconcertingly large seized on the news as proof that Clayton was unfit for office.

The ideological makeup of the SBOE didn't shift much with last week's election, but Quinn said the Miller-Spurlock runoff could influence whether the board merely leans far to the right or very, very far to the right.

Farewell, George. We hardly knew ye.

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12 comments
Tjhattorney
Tjhattorney

It is sad that my brother worked so hard and was by far the only qualified candidate in the race.  He has never hid his sexual orientation. He is extremely intelligent and truly cares about all students and teachers. Not wanting LGBT humans to have all the same rights afforded to  others are like the children in our schools that are referred to as bullies. If Tincy and Gail really cared about the education of our children they would step down. Teresa Hawthorne

Joe L
Joe L

And just exactly where did Tincy Miller get "six figures of her own money"?  Did she and her husband ever pay back all they owe?  What ever happened with the IRS case?

lorlee
lorlee

Ms. Miller and her husbandn's actions during one of the financial meltdowns should have also been shouted from the rooftops.

Edward
Edward

"Whisper" campaign? I think Tincy and her right-wing cohorts were yelling it from the rooftops. As long as our state is controlled by Neanderthals (who don't believe in Neanderthals) we will continue down a path of diminishing riches. The Republicans have been successful in dismantling practically everything that is good for Texas' citizens, and I think won't be satisfied – or in the end, safe – until they find a way to make it illegal for anyone who is naturally a shade of tan or darker to vote. I keep thinking that once UT and A&M graduates from a generation go start seeing their own children not being able to attend college, the **** would hit the fan and they would come to their senses. It appears they have none.

Willabk
Willabk

Clayton lost his seat because there aren't enough sane Republican primary voters. 

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

After hearing her radio ads for the primary, I don't want "Tincy" anywhere near any book that should be fact-based.

Or should I be more annoyed that dumbasses voted for her?

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Just another reason, among zillions, why this Board should no longer exist or, at least, be elected in non-partisan elections.  Tincy Miller is old and out of touch with the needs of the current Texas public school population, and Gail Spurlock is just flat crazy and unqualified.  Thank goodness that whoever wins will have general election opposition.

Now I Get It!
Now I Get It!

What order were their names listed on the ballot?  I can't recall, but often times in these small turnout elections, that can make a difference, too.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Not the case here.  Clayton was first and Spurlock last.  This was all about his sexual orientation.  Unfortunately.

teacher
teacher

I forgot to mention earlier that Preston Rd. is covered with Tincy billboards,,,,,how could one not notice.  Also Gail is the Collin County Tea Party darling. I didn't hear one word mentioned about George in Collin County.....except when I mentioned how he was the only one of the four who knows whats going on in the schools.  Nobody I talked with knew anything about George.

teacher
teacher

George was listed last on the Collin County ballot.

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