Jagler Wins Special State Senate Election

In a race that will lead to a lot of post-election second-guessing, Pecatonica Superintendent Jill Underly will defeat Brown Deer Superintendent Deb Kerr in the race for Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Underly, backed by the Democratic Party and the teachers unions, is currently leading with 56.8% of the vote with 86.8% counted, according to the Associated Press as this is being written. Kerr, a Democrat who aligned herself with school choice supporters, received 43.2% of the vote.

The tone and style of the race indicated that at one point it was closer than the final results would indicate. The Democrats and the teachers union spent far more than supporters of Kerr in the race:

In addition, the negative attacks upon Kerr (without the means to respond), the chaos of the early campaign, and a campaign that failed to ignite Republican support led to a predictable defeat. While Kerr did receive endorsements from state Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), the Milwaukee Community Journal and former Education Secretary Arne Duncan were just too little, too late.

Instead of the 50-50 close elections Wisconsinites expect, the final results were comparable to recent races for Superintendent of Public Instruction with the union-backed candidate easily prevailing. The last time the union-backed candidate received less than 60% of the vote was 2009 when Rose Fernandez received 42.7% to future Gov. Tony Evers’ 57.1%.

In another competitive race being watched Tuesday evening, Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) handily defeated Democratic challenger Melissa Winker in the 13th Senate district special election. This is Winker’s third loss in her fruitless pursuit of a seat in the legislature.

With 92% of the vote reported, Jagler received 51.2% of the vote, Winker received 43.8% of the vote, and frequent ballot-filler candidate Spencer Zimmerman received 4.6% of the vote, according to the Associated Press.

The special election was to fill the vacancy created when Scott Fitzgerald was elected to represent Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District in 2020.

Other Races:

Wisconsin conservatives scored two judicial election victories:

Judge Shelly Grogan defeated Evers-appointed Judge Jeffrey Davis 55.9% to 44.1% for a seat on the District 2 Court of Appeals.

In a race for the District 3 Court of Appeals, Gregory Gills defeated Rick Cveykus. With 92.2% of the vote counted, Gills led 54.9% to 45.1%, according to the AP.

Local races we also watched:

As expected, Republican Elijah Behnke defeated Democrat Karl Jaeger 60.3% to 39.7% in the special election in the 89th Assembly District. The special election was necessary following the resignation of Republican John Nygren.

Fond du Lac County Republican Party Chairman Rohn Bishop, an occasional contributor to RightWisconsin, will join the Waupun Common Council. Bishop won with 54.7% of the vote to 45.3%.