Wisconsin state executive official elections, 2013

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New JerseyVirginiaWisconsin
One state executive position - Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction - was up for election in 2013 in the state of Wisconsin. The primary election was on February 19, 2013 followed by a general election on April 2, 2013.[1] Incumbent Tony Evers was first elected in April 2009 and won re-election to a second term against challenger Don Pridemore on April 2, 2013. [2]

Candidates had until January 2, 2013 to file.[3] The Superintendent of Public Instruction is a nonpartisan position.


Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction General Election, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngTony Evers Incumbent 61.1% 487,030
     Nonpartisan Don Pridemore 38.7% 308,050
     Scattering Various 0.2% 1,431
Total Votes 796,511
Election Results via Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (dead link).

Key Dates

Deadline Event
March 18 First day for in person early voting
March 28 Last day to request absentee ballots by mail (except for indefinitely-confined and military voters)
April 2 General Election Day
April 12 Last day to file petition for recount and appeal of recount.
May 15 Deadline for Chairman of State Government Accountability Board to certify election results.

Race background

Incumbent Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers ran successfully for re-election in 2013.[2]

Unlike previous elections where multiple individuals filed to run, only one challenger submitted the necessary signatures required to appear on the ballot before the filing deadline passed on January 2, 2013, thus negating the need for the scheduled February 19, 2013 primary election.[4][5] The two instead faced off in the general election on April 2, 2013, which Evers won handily.[6]


The following list of candidates was certified official by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board on January 2, 2013.[7]

Tony Evers (incumbent)

Incumbent Superintendent Tony Evers won re-election in 2013

Campaign themes

On his 2013 campaign website Evers outlined the following three issues:[8]

  • Ensuring Every Child is a Graduate: "Tony adopted higher standards, better assessments and new student supports to ensure all kids are college and career ready. He will continue to work with parents, educators and legislators to set high standards and adopt innovative educational practices."
  • Standing up for Kids and Educators: "Tony fought back against historic budget cuts, opposing a back room deals that expanded school vouchers while cutting $1.6 billion from public schools. He will continue to push for adequate resources to ensure school reform does become a code work for funding cuts."
  • Championing School Finance Reform: "Tony’s popular Fair Funding for Our Future plan would protect kids, invest in our classroooms, account for poverty, and lower the tax levy. Tony will re-introduce the plan as part of his 2013-15 Budget proposal."

Don Pridemore (challenger)

Wisconsin lawmaker Don Pridemore said he wanted to improve the public education system with conservative reforms.

Campaign themes

During the campaign, Pridemore said his priorities for the Department of Public Instruction were empowering local school boards and administrators to supersede teachers unions as the controlling forces behind state public schools, with the help of Act 10, and placing more emphasis on public schools and conservative style teaching, instead of "choice" schools, or charter schools, to meet the demands of the real world labor force. “There are so many jobs available where the kids coming out of tech schools and high schools don’t have the skills that match those jobs,” he said. “We need to make more connection with the actual world,” he told the Portage Daily Register in March 2013.[9]

He outlined the top issues on his Official campaign website. They included the following:[10]

  • Local Control:

"It is time to get the power and the money out of Madison and back to the local schools. We spend over 500 million dollars per year on special programs. School districts should be allowed to spend that money where they decide it would be most beneficial."

  • School Boards:

“School boards should be given the freedom to hire or allow a competent, well trained school official or employee who is experienced with returning force whenever force is required. Police officers, either retired or still on duty, who are trained to respond to school safety situations are the best example of such a qualified person."

  • Virtual Schools:

"There can be no doubt that online learning presents the greatest opportunity to take education to the next level for all Americans. Access to specialized instruction that was out of reach 10 years ago is now only a click of the mouse away. We must allow technology and education to come together."


With less than three weeks to go until the election, incumbent state superintendent Tony Evers and challenger Don Pridemore faced off on March 13, 2013 at a meeting of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards in Madison. The nonpartisan race had a focus on education proposals put forth by Gov. Scott Walker (R) in his budget plan.[11]

Pridemore, a Republican member of the Wisconsin State Assembly since 2005, supported Walker's plan to expand the use of vouchers in the state while not increasing public school spending. Meanwhile Evers, who was first elected in 2009, opposed both measures and wanted to increase spending by $225 per student.[12]

Pridemore said budgets were tight and schools should not expect more money. "A lot of these common core standards really started with international standards. Now, why should we be beholden to some worldwide organization that's just trying to dumb down America," he stated.[13]

Regarding school safety, Pridemore proposed allowing schools to have armed volunteers to provide security, which Evers said risks turning schools into the "wild west." While presenting a stark contrast in most of their views, the two did agree in their opposition to Walker's proposal to create a separate school board to oversee charter schools.[14]


On March 17, 2013, the Associated Press reported on the existence of a memo from Pridemore's campaign containing the names of five members of the press who had been blacklisted, along with their affiliated media outlets, for exhibiting what Pridemore considerd "liberal bias." The memo was turned over to the AP by one of the blacklisted reporters, Jack Craver, from The Capital Times. The memo said: "If the reporter requests an interview, they must submit their questions in a written form and they will receive a written response to only those questions we want to respond to. These are all LIBERAL's and have chosen to parse words, phrases and spin my responses to fit their agendas. If they continue to spin our written responses, they will be ignored in the future." It further instructed that campaign staffers record and track all interactions with blacklisted reporters on a spreadsheet. The memo did not provide specific examples for the biased reporting that led to Craver's and the others' shunning by the campaign.[15]

Campaign finance

On March 25, 2013, one week before the election, The Associated Press reported that incumbent Tony Evers' re-election campaign had spent almost $210,000 since January, and would end the campaign with about $40,000 cash on hand.[16] These figures reflect the most recent campaign finance reports filed by the candidates' committees with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. The latest report lists contributions and spending from Jan 1-March 18. According to the AP report, challenger Don Pridemore's last filing, covering Jan. 1-Feb 4., showed him spending under $20,000, a significantly lower sum than his opponent. However the lion's share of Evers' spending occurred between Feb. 5 and March 18, therefore it was difficult to compare the candidates' financial standing heading into the April 2 election without Pridemore's updated financial summary. The report also said Pridemore raised $2,400 and had $33,400 on hand as of Feb. 4, 2013.

Campaign sites and media



News & additional reading

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board "2013 Spring Election"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin April 2 election results," accessed April 3, 2013
  3. Gazette Xtra, "State school superintendent seek second term," November 9, 2012
  4. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Candidate List-Spring 2013 Elections," accessed January 2, 2013 (dead link)
  5. Green Bay Press Gazette, "State Superintendent Supreme Court Justice will face challenges," accessed January 8, 2013
  6. WTAQ, "State public school superintendent candidates take jabs at each other," accessed January 8, 2013
  7. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Candidate List-Spring 2013 Elections," accessed January 2, 2013
  8. Tony Evers, "Issues," accessed February 5, 2013
  9. Portage Daily Register, "Pridemore: Take control of education from union," March 8, 2013
  10. Pridemore for Wisconsin, "Issues," accessed March 12, 2013
  11. Walworth County Today, "Wisconsin superintendent candidates to debate," March 12, 2013
  12. Twin Cities, "Wisconsin: Evers, Pridemore clash in education superintendent debate," March 13, 2013
  13. WXOW, "Evers, Pridemore clash in superintendent debate," March 13, 2013
  14. Wisconsin Radio Network, "Stark contrast in state superintendent race," March 13, 2013
  15. The Republic, "GOP education superintendent candidate's campaign blacklists 5 Wisconsin reporters," March 17, 2013
  16. nbc15.com, "Superintendent Candidate Evers Spends over 200 Thousand Dollars on Re-election Campaign," March 25, 2013