MADISON, Wis. (AP/TMJ4) — Jill Underly rode support from the state teachers’ union and an overwhelming financial advantage to win the election as Wisconsin superintendent of schools, unofficial election results show.
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Underly defeated Republican-backed Deb Kerr in Tuesday’s election.
Underly is superintendent of the rural Pecatonica school district and formerly worked for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, which she will now lead.
Kerr is the former superintendent of the Brown Deer school district in suburban Milwaukee.
The race was officially nonpartisan, but Democrats and their money lined up solidly behind Underly while Kerr found support from Republicans. Underly takes over for Carolyn Stanford Taylor, who held the post since 2019.
Outside spending in superintendent race tops $1 million
Outside spending in Wisconsin’s race for state superintendent has topped $1 million, the most ever spent by special interests trying to influence the officially nonpartisan race.
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign tracks spending in the race and said Monday that $797,600 has been spent by groups supporting Underly or opposing Kerr.
One group has spent $209,000 to help Kerr.
Reaction to the election result
Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler released the following statement:
“Students, teachers, and families across Wisconsin are the real winners tonight. Dr. Underly has the deep expertise, unwavering dedication to public schools, and clear vision for a more equitable future that Wisconsin needs right now."
President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO Stephanie Bloomingdale said in a statement:
"Today, Wisconsin voters continued the call for a better future for all by voting to elect union-endorsed candidate Dr. Jill Underly to lead our public schools out of the pandemic with a focus on equality and a strong, fully-funded public education system that supports every child, every day."