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Unhinged Texas activist comes up short in key statewide election

Mary Lou Bruner believed some of the nuttiest conspiracy theories anyone has ever heard. Would Texas Republicans put her on the Board of Education anyway?
Mary Lou Bruner, 69, candidate for State Board of Education, District 9. (Photo by Rachel Rutledge/The Northeast Texan)
Mary Lou Bruner, 69, candidate for State Board of Education, District 9. 
Even among those who've come to expect some pretty nutty positions from Texas Republicans, Mary Lou Bruner stood out as unique. Plenty of right-wing activists believe some ridiculous conspiracy theories, but Bruner publicly embraced ideas so hopelessly bizarre, she made national headlines when she became the frontrunner for a seat on the Texas State Board of Education -- a department that helps decide, among other things, what goes into textbooks in the nation's second-largest school system.
Bruner ran on a platform of -- I kid you not -- keeping gay "subliminal messages" out of textbooks. Somehow, this did not persuade Texas voters, who yesterday decided to go in a different direction.

[A]s conspiracy theories in Bruner's old Facebook posts surfaced, her lead shrunk. Voters ultimately chose fellow Republican Keven Ellis, a local school board president, for the GOP nomination. Bruner lost by about 18 percent in the primary runoff. [...] "Texas escaped an education train wreck tonight," Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said in a statement. "If Bruner had ultimately won election to the board, she would have instantly become the most embarrassingly uninformed and divisive member on a board that already too often puts politics ahead of making sure our kids get a sound education."

The results are reassuring, though before the national spotlight turns away from the story altogether, it's worth pausing to appreciate some of the ideas Mary Lou Bruner publicly espoused:
* The United Nations launched a plot to depopulate the planet.
* President Obama is a former gay prostitute.
* Democrats secretly assassinated JFK because he was conservative.
* House Speaker Paul Ryan's beard made him look like "a terrorist."
* Dinosaurs and people lived at the same time.
* The climate crisis was Karl Marx's idea.
In March, Bruner actually received 48% of the vote in a three-way primary. If she'd reached 50%, she would have been the official Republican Party nominee for a seat on the Texas State Board of Education.
Instead, Bruner came up short in this week's primary.