Fort Worth Republican Pat Hardy faces a challenge keeping her State Board of Education seat, and solely for one reason.
She is an incumbent, and any incumbent is endangered in a low-turnout Republican runoff.
There is no other reason to oppose Hardy. She has campaigned for a conservative view of public education in 11 years on the obscure state school board, where she represents most of Tarrant County, Parker County and northwest Dallas County.
The challenger, Eric Mahroum, is a Bedford activist recruited by a Tea Party affiliate.
Hardy has spent more than 30 years in teaching as a history and geography teacher at Castleberry High School, a huge help when board members are debating curriculum or setting graduation rules. She is currently a curriculum strategist in Weatherford schools.
Hardy was in her 12th year teaching when her opponent was born.
Mahroum, a concessions manager, graduated from Mansfield High School, attended Tarrant County College and has an online college degree from an open-enrollment university.
His primary complaint is that Hardy is not enough of a Republican activist.
In a recent forum on KXAS/Channel 5, Hardy, a Southern Baptist, said she is a lifelong conservative but votes thinking about what’s best for students, “not thinking Democrat or Republican.”
She has occasionally differed with a board faction she called “ultra-conservative.” Two have endorsed Mahroum.
Mahroum criticizes Hardy for voting against an Arizona-based public charter school seeking to operate in Dallas. Hardy said she had concerns with the curriculum.
Mahroum said the board is a partisan office and “We represent the Republican Party.”
Board Chair Barbara Cargill and two other board Republicans have endorsed Hardy. So has Theresa Thombs, who finished third in the March party primary.
This runoff is about more than any faction. It is extraordinary for Texas to have a board member with Hardy’s classroom experience and practical leadership skills.
The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends Patricia “Pat” Hardy in the Republican Party runoff for State Board of Education District 11.