Republicans in Texas are heading to the polls Tuesday for a primary runoff, and in one school board district they are poised to nominate a woman who believes President Barack Obama’s past includes a stint as a gay prostitute.
Mary Lou Bruner is a Republican candidate for the state board of education in District 9, which covers Texas’s heavily-Republican northeast. In the state’s March 1 primary, she finished with 48.5 percent of the vote, narrowly failing to clinch the Republican nomination, which in turn would likely guarantee her the seat. Her runoff opponent, Keven Ellis, received just 31 percent of the vote in the primary, so he has a lot of ground to make up if he hopes to win an upset Tuesday night.
Bruner doesn’t just bring 30 years of teaching experience and a conservative worldview to the table. She also brings a vast array of unusual and conspiratorial opinions.
Most notably, visitors to her Facebook page discovered an October post in which she alleged Obama supports gay rights because he was a gay prostitute in the 1980s to finance a drug habit. While a novel idea, there is no evidence for this claim.
Bruner has made plenty of other strange and conspiratorial claims on other matters. Another October post accused Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush of turning the Alamo over to the United Nations, based on its recent designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In November, she said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s beard made him look like a terrorist, and she also claimed the Democratic Party masterminded former President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in order to place a socialist (Lyndon Johnson) in power. Back in 2012, she argued Obamacare is a United Nations plot to slash the U.S. population by 200 million people.
On Common Core (which Texas has not adopted), Bruner has suggested it is a Communist plot, and she used a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a German theologian executed for plotting against Hitler) to describe resistance as a moral necessity. Bruner has also suggested climate change is a hoax created by Karl Marx, and has supported banning Islam in the United States.
Bruner’s strange opinions, which she has avoided expressing in recent months, haven’t been without consequence. A Texas Tea Party group withdrew its endorsement of her, the first time it had done so in seven years, and she suffered a high-profile embarrassment when she claimed to have met with a district’s superintendent, only for that superintendent to immediately stand up and claim he had never met her in his life. It remains to be seen whether these missteps, and greater attention on her conspiratorial views, will be enough to keep Bruner off the Texas Board of Education.
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