State superintendent Tony Evers handily defeated Republican state Rep. Don Pridemore in Tuesday's election, winning a second term leading the state Department of Public Instruction.
Pridemore, R-Hartford, one of the most conservative state lawmakers who was first elected in 2004, had the backing of some within his party but he failed to generate much momentum or fundraising to take on Evers, who had the support of several unions representing teachers, Democratic office holders and others.
Evers built his campaign around increasing funding for public schools and opposing Republican Gov. Scott Walker's proposals to expand and spend more money on private school vouchers.
Pridemore is a staunch school voucher proponent and argued he was the better choice because he would work closely with Walker on furthering his agenda.
Pridemore also differed from Evers by supporting a freeze on public school spending. He called for allowing armed volunteers to patrol schoolhallways as a safety measure, saying it was part of his movement to give schools more local control.
But Pridemore's fundraising lagged and he was never able to run ads on television to match those put up by Evers and the statewide teachers union, Wisconsin Education Association Council.
Pridemore's campaign suffered other setbacks in recent weeks. A former staffer last month said Pridemore ordered him to create a list of reporters he wouldn't grant interviews to.
Pridemore said the former employee misunderstood a conversation about the reporters.
Last week, Pridemore backed off a pledge to eliminate the DPI's American Indian mascot policy, something only the Legislature can do.