Incumbent Thomas Ratliff, of Mount Pleasant, was leading the race for State Board of Education District 9 seat with almost 95 percent of precincts reporting.
Ratliff ran in the Republican primary against Tyler resident Randy Stevenson.
Incomplete and unofficial results showed Ratliff with 70,828 votes, 52.31 percent, to Stevenson’s 64,561 votes, 47.68 percent. No one ran on the Democratic ticket.
Ratliff said he was encouraged by the early numbers.
“It’s a bigger margin than I won with last time,” said Ratliff, 44, who has served one year on the board and works as a governmental relations consultant and lobbyist. “Running for re-election is different than a first-time candidate because you’re running on your record so to speak.”
The District 9 seat, along with those of all other state board members, was on the ballot because the district lines were redrawn as a result of new census data, which comes out every 10 years.
District 9 comprises 31 Northeast Texas counties including Smith and all the counties immediately surrounding it.
Some its primary responsibilities include setting curriculum standards for Texas public schools; overseeing the investment of the Permanent School Fund, which provides non-tax revenue for schools; and approving the creation of charter schools, among many other responsibilities.
During his campaign, Ratliff cited a desire to depoliticize the State Board of Education and restore more local control to public schools.
“I firmly believe that local classroom teachers, school boards, PTAs and local communities know what they want and need from their schools,” Ratliff said in a prepared statement announcing his candidacy. “We don’t need people from the state or federal government trying to force-feed us more one-size-fits-all solutions to the challenges we face in our schools.”