Every Republican on the State Board of Education is endorsing Lani Popp for an open seat now that she is in a runoff against notorious conspiracy theorist Robert Morrow.

Morrow, who has a history of making racist, sexist and profanity-laced statements, finished first in the three-way primary last week to fill the seat of retiring member Ken Mercer. Popp, a Northside Independent School District speech language pathologist, came in second, getting 34 percent of the vote to 40 percent for Morrow.

Mercer was already backing Popp before the runoff was set. Now she also has the support of the nine other Republicans on the 15-member board.

“I fully support and endorse Lani Popp,” the board’s chairman, Keven Ellis, said as part of an announcement of the endorsements first shared with The Texas Tribune. “I strongly believe she is unequivocally the best and only choice in the Republican primary race for District 5. This run-off election is critical for the future success of the board.”

Popp’s campaign hailed the endorsements as “unprecedented unity,” and she said in a statement, “Our campaign needs every Republican official, organization, county party, club, and individual to help us win this runoff.”

Morrow previously shook up Austin-area politics in 2016 when he unexpectedly unseated James Dickey, then the chairman of the Travis County Republican Party. Morrow’s tenure came to an end months later when he became a write-in presidential candidate, making him ineligible to lead the party.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune, a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans – and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government, and statewide issues.

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Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune

Patrick Svitek is the primary political correspondent for The Texas Tribune and editor of The Blast, the Tribune's subscription-only daily newsletter for political insiders.