Photo by Saiyna Bashir, The Capital Times

State Superintendent Tony Evers chalked up his easy win over challenger Lowell Holtz to his role as “the chief advocate” of public school kids.

Evers also struck an optimistic tone last night about the future of the state, telling reporters and a crowd of some 50 supporters in downtown Madison, including Dem legislative leaders Rep. Peter Barca and Sen. Jennifer Shilling, that despite the problems Wisconsin faces, “we can roll up our sleeves and solve them.”

Still, he addressed issues the state needs to solve to enhance the education environment for public school students, including better addressing mental health issues and allocating more money to districts. But he conceded the state’s in a good starting place with Gov. Scott Walker’s biennial budget plan.

With almost all precincts in, Evers had 494,845 votes, or 70 percent, while Holtz had 212,529, or 30 percent.

In 2013, Evers beat then-GOP Rep. Don Pridemore with 61.1 percent of the vote.

In 2009, Evers won his first term over school choice advocate Rose Fernandez with 57.1 percent.

The just more than 700,000 people who voted in the state superintendent race is a little under 16 percent of the state’s voting age population.
Holtz said he raised important issues in his bid for state superintendent even though he came up well short of knocking off Evers.

Holtz said he was at a resource disadvantage compared to Evers, who outraised him better than 2-to-1. Between Jan. 1 and March 20, Holtz pulled in $117,190, while Evers collected just north of $360,000.

Evers also benefited from a $225,000 TV ad buy from the liberal Greater Wisconsin Committee.

“There’s only so much you can do shaking hands,” Holtz said on a conference call.

Holtz said he wished Evers well and hoped others would step up to help the superintendent address issues, such as the achievement gap between white and minority students.

“I’m really hoping that while I might not have been in the position where I wanted to be, I really hope that we raised issues and awareness that parents don’t ever have to put up with failing schools, businesses shouldn’t put up with failing schools and our communities shouldn’t put up with them,” Holtz said.

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