Education

Republican endorsed candidates dominate Cy-Fair school board race, unofficial returns show

The race caught traction around the state after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and other top Republican state leaders and groups endorsed candidates running for the school board.

Cypress-Fairbanks High School
Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District
Cypress-Fairbanks High School

Recent unofficial returns from a politically-injected school board race suggest Cy-Fair voters elected Republican-backed leaders to head the third largest school district in Texas.

Conservative leaders and political action committees that endorsed those candidates are celebrating the wins on the school board they say is now majorly led by Republican leaders.

Todd LeCompte took the gold for position 1 on the school board with nearly 44 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. Incumbent Julie Hinaman was elected position 2 board member with 45.6 percent of the vote. Justin Ray was elected to position 3 on the board with 43.5 percent, and Christine Kalmbach was elected to position 4 board member after winning 51.1 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.

“In a historic win, the Cy-Fair ISD School Board has been flipped to Republican control, with conservatives Todd LeCompte, Justin Ray, and Christine Kalmbach winning their races,” Harris County GOP said in a statement.

Those results come in the thick of a national push for partisan led school boards that have historically stood as nonpartisan councils.

The race caught traction around the state after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and other top Republican state leaders and groups endorsed candidates running for the school board. Cruz announced his endorsements for four Cy-Fair candidates ahead of the Nov. 7 election, advocating for leaders that were previously backed by conservative political action committees.

“It is vital that our children and schools are led by those who advance educational opportunity,” he said in a statement. “These candidates will ensure that educational excellence is the standard in Cy-Fair ISD.”

Cruz, and other Republican leaders, state Sen. Paul Bettencourt and County Commissioner Tom Ramsey, endorsed LeCompte, Ray and Kalmbach ahead of the Cy-Fair election.

Cy-Fair for Liberty PAC and American Federation of Teachers also backed those candidates.

“In the past, it was fairly uncommon for state and federal elected officials to get involved in local politics,” Duncan Klussman, University of Houston professor in the education department told Houston Public Media. “They really believed that was best left to the local citizens.”

But trends that picked up amid the COVID-19 pandemic show more state and national politicians getting involved in local issues like school board races, Klussman said.

“Voters across Houston and Harris County are hungry for change from strong Republican candidates who they know will improve their communities through common sense, conservative policies,” Cindy Siegel, Harris County GOP chairman, said in a statement.

Those candidates will serve four-year terms on the school board after being sworn in.