TOPEKA — An incumbent Democratic State Board of Education member on Tuesday defeated a Republican challenger with ties to an anti-gay Topeka church notorious for picketing military members’ funerals.
According to unofficial results, Carolyn Campbell of Topeka defeated Jack Wu, a Topeka computer programmer who made opposition to teaching evolution the cornerstone of his campaign in the 4th District in northeast Kansas. Wu described evolution as “Satanic lies” and said on a website that public schools were preparing students to be “liars, crooks, thieves, murderers, and perverts.”
Wu also raised eyebrows by saying that he was lured to Kansas from California in 2008 by Westboro Baptist. Campbell, a former Topeka school board member, was elected to her second, four-year term on the state board. She acknowledged that she was worried some voters in GOP-leaning Kansas would simply follow Wu’s party affiliation.
The election keeps the 10-member board’s balance of power the same, diminishing chances that Kansas might adopt science standards for its public schools skeptical of evolution, as it has in the past. A coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans was firmly in the majority.
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Two moderate Republicans from Wichita, Kathy Busch and Jim McNiece, were unopposed in the neighboring 8th and 10th Districts, and both favored preserving evolution-friendly standards.
In the 2nd District in the Kansas City area, former state Rep. Cindy Neighbor of Shawnee, faced Republican Steve Roberts of Overland Park, a professional math tutor.