State Superintendent Tony Evers says his primary victory can be chalked up to his focus on the state’s public school kids — and not on the “kind of weird politics and policies” that plagued his challengers in the days leading up to the election.

Evers told WisPolitics.com in an interview that instead, his primary victory is a reflection of his campaign’s focus on the 860,000 public school kids in the state and their needs.

Evers said he didn’t know if the news from last week of talks between John Humphries and Lowell Holtz for a job at the Department of Public Instruction in exchange for one leaving the race affected the outcome of the primary. But he said “people in Wisconsin value trustworthiness and integrity.”

“I think this worked against both of them,” Evers said. “I never guessed this race would have that role in it.”

And he added that because both his primary opponents “engaged in untrustworthy behavior,” the issue could still dog Holtz as the two head into the general election April 4.

Evers “fully anticipates” outside money will come in during the general election to help Holtz, especially from groups that support school choice, and “will play a role in this race.”

“We’ll be working twice as hard as we were going into this race” in anticipation of the challenge that money would pose, Evers said.

Meanwhile, Holtz didn’t return a call seeking comment, but in a statement thanked voters for their faith in him to “correct the extensive vulnerabilities” of the state’s “education bureaucracy.”

“I look forward to the campaign ahead, and anticipate a spirited and meaningful debate as I present an alternative vision for the future of Wisconsin’s students to that of Dr. Tony Evers,” he said.

Humphries in a statement urged voters to learn more about both Evers’ “track record and what he plans to do differently,” as well as Holtz’s proposals, saying “the status quo cannot stand any longer in Wisconsin.”

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