State Board of Education Dist. 9 race headed for a runoff

State Board of Education Dist. 9 race headed for a runoff
Results from Tuesday's primary for the Dist. 9 race. (Source: KLTV Staff)
Results from Tuesday's primary for the Dist. 9 race. (Source: KLTV Staff)

(KLTV) - A State Board of Education race that has gained national attention is heading for a runoff.

In Tuesday night's republican primary for the District 9 seat, Mary Lou Bruner received about 48% of the vote. Keven Ellis received about 31% and Hank Hering about 20%. Now, Bruner and Ellis will face off in the runoff election in May.

The race drew attention after some of Bruner's comments, including commenting that President Obama was once a prostitute.

After finishing second to Bruner in the primaries, Lufkin School Board President Kevin Ellis is eager to continue campaigning for the May run-off.

"This is a very large district; there are 31 counties and it covers a lot of geography," Ellis said.

"The challenge in this race is getting our name recognition out to this large percentage of people. We've had just two months to do this since we signed up for the race, so the benefit we have now is we have extra time," he added.  

His opponent has gotten a lot of attention for her outspoken opinions. We reached out to Bruner Wednesday, but she denied our request for an interview. We spoke to her on Feb. 16 and asked her about some of her comments she had made, including her statement that global warming is a hoax.

"I am not ashamed of saying this, because I know I am right," Bruner said.  

We also asked about her post on Facebook saying that President Obama paid for a drug addiction in his twenties by being a male prostitute.

"I don't know, I guess I'm assuming it was true; you're assuming some people assume that it's false, I mean, who knows," Bruner explained.

In response to his opponent's comments, Ellis said he is a different candidate.

"What we stand for is different than what her values,are and she's made her values very clear, and I don't want to go into defend what she said. I'll let her do that," he said.

As for his platform: "I am very pro-public education," he said.

"One of the biggest things, I think, that we do is narrow the TEKS, which is a curriculum standard, and right now I feel they're a mile wide and an inch deep," he explained.

"We don't give our teachers enough time to allow our students to master the lessons that they're given. So we need to narrow those down to what's truly important, and let our teachers focus on educating our kids properly," he added.

It is an interesting race for voters to consider before heading back to the polls. That runoff election will take place on May 24. The winner will face Democrat Amanda Rudolph in the general election.

Copyright KLTV 2016. All rights reserved.