This article has been updated.
Democrats Laura Marquez and Melissa N. Ortega appear headed to a May runoff election, according to unofficial results in Tuesday’s State Board of Education District 1 primary race.
Ortega, who was endorsed by the outgoing incumbent, received 46.1% of the vote, while Marquez garnered 35.5% with 99.8% of the ballots counted.
Omar Yanar, an El Paso charter school operator, received 18.4% of the vote.
Republican Michael “Travis” Stevens, who held on to his early vote lead in the District 1 race, will face the winner of the May 24 runoff in the November election. Stevens, a San Antonio teacher and instructional coach, received about 63.7% of the vote, while his opponent Lani Popp, who unsuccessfully ran in 2020 for the District 5 seat, received 36.3% with 99% of the ballots counted.
Stevens, a teacher and instructional coach in Northside Independent School District, thanked his supporters late Tuesday. He said the various challenges teachers and students have faced since the onset of the pandemic spurred him to run for the board.
“This is a step in the right direction in giving teachers and educators a voice on the board,” he said.
Georgina Pérez (D-El Paso) has represented District 1 since 2016 but will step down in December. The district encompasses 30 counties, stretching from El Paso to Laredo to the suburbs of San Antonio.
Pérez endorsed Ortega, an El Paso native who taught middle school before moving to the university level. She now teaches women and gender studies at the University of Texas at El Paso, according to her campaign website.
Marquez, a former special education paraprofessional, received endorsements from state Rep. Mary González (D-Clint) and the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. The El Paso native works for the nonprofit Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center, serving children with disabilities.
In District 3, Ken Morrow, who won the Republican nomination, will face Democratic incumbent Marisa Pérez-Diaz (D-Converse) in the November election. Morrow received 54.9% of the vote, while Lana Jean Holland, an educator from George West, garnered 45.1% with 89.9% of the ballots counted.
Pérez-Diaz, who has represented District 3 since 2013, ran uncontested in the Democratic primary. The district covers 12 counties and parts of Bexar and Hidalgo counties.
State Board of Education members set curriculum standards, review and adopt textbooks, establish graduation requirements and approve or veto proposed charter schools. Currently, the board is made up of nine Republicans and six Democrats, each of whom serves four years and represents 1.9 million residents.
Before redistricting, San Antonio area voters also elected the District 5 representative on the board, currently held by Rebecca Bell-Metereau (D-San Marcos). The district covered 11 counties and parts of Bexar and Travis counties, but now covers seven counties in Central Texas, stopping north of Bexar County in Schertz.