GOP picks new candidate for state board of education election


There were two candidates in the March Republican primary for a seat on the Austin-area State Board of Education. Neither will be on the ballot in November.

Libertarian physicist Mark Loewe won by just over 5,000 votes in his race against Austin conspiracy theorist Robert Morrow, a longtime headache for the Travis County GOP who calls himself the top expert of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

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Morrow was elected Republican Party Chairman for Travis County in 2016, although the party disowned him and he eventually quit the job. Since his departure, Texas Republicans have worked to deprive Morrow of a spotlight. In 2020, he qualified for a second round in a race for another State Board of Education seat, and every Republican board member endorsed his opponentt.

This year Governor Greg Abbott backed Loewe, who won and helped the party avoid the potentially embarrassing scenario of Morrow as standard bearer once again.

But weeks later, Loewe died of a heart attack, leaving the Republican row on the ticket empty.

Below Texas Election Law, a candidate’s name must be removed from the ballot if that candidate “withdraws, dies, or is declared ineligible no later than the 74th day before Election Day,” a spokesperson for the secretary’s office explained. status in an email. The law allows the Republican Party to choose who would be the alternate on the ballot, and party officials are not required to consider candidates who ran to run in the original primary.

So on Saturday, August 6, the local GOP offices that encompass the district held a convention and chose Perla Hopkins to replace Loewe as the candidate for the volunteer position on the 15-member council.

Hopkins did not make herself available for an interview for this story, but in an email she described herself as a mother, wife and teacher and said she wanted to bring “servant leadership” to the Board of state. His campaign materials say his goals include increased communication and transparency, as well as a rejection of “all CRT, indoctrination, obscene and Marxist ideologies and practices.”

State Board of Education District 5 was once a highly competitive seat, with incumbent Rebecca Bell-Metereau running three times starting in 2009 before winning in 2020.

The district includes suburbs in the fast-growing counties of Hays, Bastrop, Guadalupe and Blanco that now sit firmly on the map drawn last year by the Texas Legislature during redistricting.

“The numbers are probably better than any numbers I’ve ever had,” Bell-Metereau said of her re-election campaign, though she noted there was huge enthusiasm among the groups. conservative activists who successfully lobbied the state board to delay its rewrite of the social studies curriculum this year.

These activists are likely to push for more Republican members on the board, she said, and may campaign against her.

Morrow suggested that the makeup of the newly redrawn district makes the Republican nominee irrelevant and that Bell-Metereau will clearly win.

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