One challenger knocked off an incumbent in the March 5 Republican primary for the State Board of Education, while two others forced their opponents into runoffs.

Data from the Texas Secretary of State’s website showed youth pastor Brandon Hall beat retired educator Patricia Hardy in District 11 by around six percentage points—53.24 percent to 46.76 percent.

Hardy has been a member of the SBOE from the Fort Worth-area district for over 20 years.

“I ran as a fighter and that’s exactly what I’ll be,” Hall wrote on his Facebook after the victory. “It’s time to fully eradicate indoctrination and obscene materials from the classroom, put parents in charge, and restore excellence to our public education system once again.”

Elsewhere, SBOE vice chairwoman Pam Little was forced into a runoff in District 12 against Jamie Kohlmann, a real estate agent who once worked as an education policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Little received 36.24 percent of the vote to Kohlmann’s 26.94 percent in the district, which spans much of Northeast Texas.

They were followed by McKinney ISD trustee Chad Green at 20.56 percent, and Dr. Matt Rostami, a retina specialist and surgeon, at 16.26 percent.

Kohlmann celebrated making the runoff on her Facebook after the results came in.

From zero name ID ten weeks ago to getting nearly 50,000 votes, your support accelerated my campaign to the top 2 in a crowded field. This is more than a campaign about a single person – it’s a movement. We earned contributions from over 100 small-dollar donors and many more volunteered to display yard signs.

Both Little and Kohlmann told Texas Scorecard earlier this year that they thoroughly opposed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies and critical race theory (CRT), such as The New York Times’ infamous 1619 Project.

The two also said they both supported the introduction of school choice in Texas.

Round Rock school board trustee Mary Bone narrowly forced 12-year incumbent Tom Maynard into a runoff as well in District 10, an area encompassing much of Central Texas.

Maynard reeled in just under the 50 percent runoff percent threshold, with 49.29 percent of the vote to Bone’s 40.45 percent. Educator Daniel Caldwell received 10.26 percent of the vote.

Bone listed some of her campaign priorities in her December 2023 announcement, specifically pointing to protecting parental rights, improving student achievement, supporting fiscal responsibility, and ending “the destructive woke culture.”

Republican incumbent Aaron Kinsey of District 15, covering much of the Panhandle, and candidate Michael Stevens of District 1, which includes most of Southwest Texas, won their races uncontested.

No Democrat incumbents or new candidates faced primary challenges except Southwestern University Assistant Professor Raquel Saenz Ortiz of District 10, who beat her opponent by 58 points.

The State Board of Education is responsible for setting policies and standards for Texas schools. This includes reviewing and adopting curriculum, as well as establishing graduation requirements.

The runoff elections are scheduled to occur on May 28.

Luca Cacciatore

Luca H. Cacciatore is a journalist for Texas Scorecard. He is an American Moment inaugural fellow and former welder.