Payton said he’s skeptical of Kerr’s apology.
“It’s called reading the room,” he said. “You can engage your community about race by asking questions and wanting to understand … especially if you know that you are not from that community, you do not go in adding your experience.”
“At the end of the day you will never have the experience and be in the position of a person that has been called directly (the N-word),” he continued. “You need to just ask questions and listen.”
Alanna Conley, spokesperson for Underly’s campaign, lambasted Kerr for her tweet in a statement Wednesday.
“State Superintendent is a serious job that requires sound judgement and a focus on what’s best for students,” Conley said. “We think the people of Wisconsin have had enough of political leaders tweeting nonsense.”
Earlier in the campaign, the only Black candidate in the state superintendent race, Shandowlyon Hendricks-Williams, accused Kerr of a “racially motivated” attack when she tried to have Hendricks-Williams kicked off the ballot. Kerr filed a complaint saying Hendricks-Williams submitted invalid nomination papers. The Wisconsin Elections Commission deadlocked, and Hendricks-Williams remained on the ballot.
Kerr said at the time that Hendricks-Williams broke the law and that her attempt to remove her from the ballot wasn’t personal. Hendricks-Williams, who finished fourth in Tuesday’s primary, said she was disappointed in the tweet.