April 7 State-wide Races

Shirley Abrahamson

Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice

In addition to the bevy of local races on the April 7 ballot, Wisconsin voters will decide who fills two key positions at the state level in non-partisan races.

Shirley Abrahamson is seeking another 10-year term as Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice. Her challenger is Randy Koschnick, a Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge and former public defender. The 75 year-old Abrahamson was first appointed to the court in 1976 and rose to Chief Justice in 1996. A victory would put her in position to surpass Orsamus Cole for the longest tenure on the court (37 years).

Randy Koschnick

Koschnick faces an uphill battle in his challenge, as just two incumbent justices have been defeated in the last 42 years. Though the race is officially non-partisan, Koschnick, 49, is considered the conservative candidate and has the backing of the National Rifle Association and pro-life groups.

Abrahamson has the support of the majority of state judges, police chiefs, trial lawyers, and unions and is considered the more liberal candidate. The Chief Justice serves as the administrative leader of the state’s judicial system and earns $155,387 annually.

Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction

Tony Evers

The race for Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction was opened up considerably when incumbent Elizabeth Burmaster chose not to seek a third term.

Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers immediately jumped into the race, and he faces Rose Fernandez, a pediatric trauma nurse and parent advocate. Evers is a former teacher, principal, superintendent, and regional administrator.

The 51 year-old Fernandez is a virtual schools advocate and has painted Evers as a “status-quo” candidate who has failed to turn around the Milwaukee Public School system in his time in Madison.

Fernandez’s detractors say she is inexperienced and would struggle to get things done.

The superintendent earns $122,000 annually and is responsible for governing Wisconsin’s public schools, administering state and federal aid, and offering guidance to teachers and administrators. The superintendent crafts a spending request every two years to run the agency and provide state aid to public schools, which is subject to approval by the state legislature.

Digging Deeper

Rose Fernandez

Visit and click on the Campaign ’09 link at left for video of candidate forums, debates, interviews and appearances by Tony Evers, Rose Fernandez, Randy Koschnick and Shirley Abrahamson.

For Chief Justice information visit:

Wisconsin Supreme Court:

• Shirley Abrahamson:

• Randy Koschnick:

For Superintendent of Schools information visit:

• Department of Public Instruction:

• Rose Fernandez:

• Tony Evers: