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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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Democrat-backed candidate Jill Underly won the race for state superintendent Tuesday night.

Jill Underly wins state superintendent race

Democrat-backed candidate Jill Underly won the statewide race for Wisconsin superintendent Tuesday night, beating out Deb Kerr. 

The Associated Press called the race around 9:30 p.m. Underly was endorsed by the state’s largest teacher union, Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Rep. Mark Pocan and other state Democrats. The office is nonpartisan, but the race brought in over $1 million in campaign contributions. 

After the race was called, Underly said she was “honored and humbled” for the support of voters. Underly said one of her top priorities when taking office will be safely reopening schools. 

Gov. Tony Evers, who served as state superintendent for 10 years, congratulated Underly on Twitter. Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler said that the party was “gratified that voters have once again rejected cynical attempts to win elections by appealing to hatred and division.”

Underly recently called Kerr transphobic for her support of bills that would prohibit transgender girls from playing for girl’s and women’s sports teams. Kerr also drew criticism from a racially insensitive tweet after moving forward in the primary election.

A large majority — about 80% — of voters in Dane County supported Underly. The most recent results showed Underly with 57% of the vote over Kerr.

Republicans won two elections for state legislative seats. John Jagler beat out Democratic candidate Melissa Winker in Senate District 13, which was left vacant when former Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. 

In Assembly District 89, Elijah Behnke beat Democrat Karl Jaeger. The seat was vacated after Rep. John Nygren, who co-chaired the Joint Finance Committee, resigned after the November elections for a career in the private sector. 

Republicans now control the state Senate 21-12 and control the Assembly 61-38. 

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Hope Karnopp

state news writer

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