Evers and Holtz on ballot for Superintendent of Public Instruction in April election

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  Incumbent state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers and challenger Lowell E. Holtz will be on the ballot in the April 4 election for state superintendent.

Three candidates were on the ballot state-wide for Superintendent of Public Instruction in the February 21 primary. 

According to news reports, Evers received nearly 70 percent of the vote while Holtz drew 23 percent of the vote and John Humphries, the third candidate on the ballot, received about 7 percent of the votes.

Evers was first elected as state Superintendent of Public Instruction in the April 7, 2009, election. He was re-elected April 2, 2013. 

The Superintendent of Public Instruction works with Wisconsin’s school districts and provides information to the public about school attendance, management and performance. The Department of Public Instruction also licenses teachers working in Wisconsin and receives and distributes aid provided for schools by the federal government.

Rick Melcher, who failed to file in time to appear on the ballot, was a write-in candidate for the superintendent position.

Statewide, Evers received 255,520 votes, and Holtz received 84,341 votes. 

Voter turnout statewide in the primary was reported at a little over 8 percent, compared to a voter turnout of 5.9 percent in the previous three primaries for state superintendent.

Almost 360,000 people voted in the primary statewide out of 4.4 million eligible voters.

Dunn County 

According to the unofficial election results, in Dunn County, a total of 2,053 ballots were cast in the primary February 21 for state school superintendent.

Evers received 76 percent of the vote in Dunn County (1,561 votes) while Holtz received 17 percent (342 votes), Humphries received 7 percent (147 votes) and Melcher received .01 percent (three votes).

In the Colfax Messenger’s circulation area, the Village of Colfax cast 65 ballots, with 51 votes going to Evers, six votes going to Holtz and eight votes for Humphries. 

In the Village of Elk Mound, 43 votes were tabulated with 37 for Evers and three each for Holtz and Humphries.

In the Village of Wheeler, a total of six votes were cast with three going to Evers, two for Holtz and one for Humphries.

The Village of Ridgeland had ten ballots tabulated, of which eight went to Evers, and Holtz and Humphries each received one vote.

The Town of Colfax had 68 votes cast, and 49 of them went to Evers, while Holtz received 19 votes.

In the Town of Elk Mound, 79 ballots were cast that included 52 for Evers, 24 for Holtz and three for Humphries.

In the Town of Spring Brook, 58 people cast ballots, of which 41 went to Evers, 13 to Holtz and four for Humphries.

The Town of Grant had 28 votes cast, with 18 going to Evers, six to Holtz and two to Humphries.

In the Town of Otter Creek, 25 voters cast ballots in which 18 of them were for Evers, four went to Holtz and three were for Humphries.

The Town of Sand Creek had 43 ballots, with 27 going to Evers, 13 to Holtz and three for Humphries.

In the Town of Wilson, 38 ballots were cast, with 23 going to Evers, nine for Holtz and six for Humphries.

In the Town of Tainter, 108 ballots were cast, with 88 for Evers, ten for Holtz and ten for Humphries.

St. Croix

According to the unofficial election results, in St. Croix County, a total of 2,613 ballots were cast in the primary for state superintendent February 21.

Evers received 67 percent of the vote in St. Croix County (1,763 votes) while Holtz received 23 percent (592 votes), Humphries received 10 percent (257 votes) and Melcher received one vote in the county. 

In the Tribune Press Reporter’s circulation area, Glenwood City cast 45 ballots, with 29 going to Evers, 11 for Holtz and five for Humphries.

The Village of Downing had 11 ballots cast, with two for Evers, five for Holtz and four for Humphries.

In the Village of Boyceville, 29 ballots were tabulated, with 26 going to Evers, two for Holtz and one for Humphries.

The Village of Knapp had 18 ballots cast, with three going to Evers, five for Holtz and ten for Humphries.

In Wheeler, a total of six votes were cast with three going to Evers, two for Holtz and one for Humphries.

The Village of Wilson had 18 voters who cast 14 ballots for Evers, three for Holtz and one for Humphries.

In the Town of Glenwood there were 16 ballots tabulated, of which four were cast for Evers, nine for Holtz, and three for Humphries.

In the Town of Springfield, 18 ballots were tabulated, of which 14 went to Evers, four to Holtz and two for Humphries. 

The Town of Hay River had 36 ballots tabulated, with 24 going to Evers, nine to Holtz and three to Humphries.

In the Town of New Haven, 27 people cast ballots, of which 17 went to Evers, four to Holtz and six to Humphries.

In the Town of Sheridan, 35 ballots were tabulated, with 23 for Evers and six each for Holtz and Humphries.

The Town of Stanton had 27 ballots cast, of which 21 went to Evers, four to Holtz and two for Humphries.

Reported deal

Only days before the primary, various news outlets reported that Holtz and Humphries had met in December to discuss the election for state superintendent and the possibility of striking a deal between the two of them.

The “deal” was that if one would drop out of the race and the other was elected state superintendent, the one who dropped out would be awarded a three-year contract and an annual salary of $150,000 for a job at the DPI that would include a car and driver. 

The position would have included “complete authority” over several large school districts, such as Madison, Milwaukee and Racine, and the authority would include breaking up the school districts and changing school boards.

News reports stated that Humphries had said Holtz had discussed the possibility of a deal with him. Humphries said the idea had come from Holtz, but Holtz said the idea had come from business leaders he declined to name. 

School boards are elected positions that oversee the school district in their jurisdiction, and no explanation was given on how Holtz or Humphries would gain the authority to change school boards and overturn the results of the election in which school district voters had elected the school board. 

Humphries said he reported on the discussion because Holtz had been talking about maintaining local control, but the possible deal they had discussed would have removed local control from some school districts.