Wisconsin’s Mandela Barnes Announces Senate Candidacy In Bid For Ron Johnson’s Seat


Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has formally introduced his bid for the U.S. Senate, within the race to show Republican Ron Johnson’s seat blue.

Barnes confirmed his candidacy after months of hypothesis that he could be vying for the seat. He plans to make a proper announcement Tuesday in entrance of Sherman Phoenix, an entrepreneurial hub for Black-owned companies in his hometown of Milwaukee. 

“Let’s be unabashedly unafraid to work collectively to vary the sport,” Barnes mentioned in his announcement video, emphasizing job creation, well being care prices, public schooling and household farms. “Arduous work isn’t paying off prefer it used to.”

He joins an already jam-packed Democratic main. Democratic candidates embrace state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski; Alex Lasry, a Milwaukee Bucks govt and son of the workforce’s proprietor; Tom Nelson, a county govt and former state lawmaker from Appleton; and state Sen. Chris Larson.

Barnes, 34, has a repute within the state for being an bold and keen up-and-comer. He was first elected to the Wisconsin State Meeting at age 25. After simply two phrases, he gave up his seat in an try and oust one of many state Senate’s most distinguished Democrats, Lena Taylor, and misplaced badly. Two years later, he got here again with a profitable bid for lieutenant governor, changing into the primary Black lawmaker to serve within the submit, and the second Black politician to ever serve statewide in Wisconsin.

His success has earned him connections in excessive locations. He was thought of for a White Home submit within the Biden administration, has shut ties to these in former president Barack Obama’s orbit, and has developed a buddy routine with Gov. Tony Evers, because the youthful, extra outgoing sidekick. 

And regardless of being one of many later entrants within the Senate race, being lieutenant governor — a public dealing with position with out a lot precise govt authority — has had its benefits. 

For months, in his capability as Evers’ No. 2, he’s been touring the state on a listening tour in regards to the impacts of COVID-19, promoting the advantages of the American Rescue Plan and the governor’s agenda. His Senate marketing campaign is starting with a lot of the identical message: a message about rising alternatives for Wisconsinites.

Nonetheless, his file in public workplace, like that of many Democrats within the state, has been within the minority or shadowed by a Republican-controlled state legislature.

Sen, Tammy Baldwin speaks with Barnes at a campaign event in 2018 in Milwaukee, when he was running for lieutenant governor.

Sen, Tammy Baldwin speaks with Barnes at a marketing campaign occasion in 2018 in Milwaukee, when he was operating for lieutenant governor.

And the race is crowded. Godlewski, who served as Hillary Clinton’s director of ladies’s outreach for Wisconsin and has been campaigning throughout the state since mid-April, has gained a serious endorsement from EMILY’s Listing, which backs Democratic pro-choice feminine candidates.

Each Godlewski and Lasry have quite a lot of private wealth to faucet into for what’s going to undoubtedly be a hard-fought main. Godlewski loaned herself $290,000 in her race for treasurer in 2018.

Lasry, along with being the son of billionaire hedge fund supervisor and Bucks proprietor Marc Lasry, raised $1 million within the final three-month interval, double what Godlewski raised since leaping into the race in mid-April. The Lasry household had been main fundraisers for each Obama and Biden. 

Johnson raised $1.2 million within the second quarter of 2021. Johnson was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and has not mentioned whether or not he’ll search a 3rd time period.

In latest months alone, Johnson has explicitly rejected the scientific consensus on COVID-19, unfold misinformation in regards to the vaccine, and confirmed sympathy towards the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters. He mentioned he wouldn’t get the vaccine as a result of he already recovered from the illness in October, warned towards mass vaccinations and baselessly implied that the vaccine will not be protected to obtain. 

In Could, Johnson advised Fox Information that “by and huge” the assault on the U.S. Capitol was a “peaceable protest” after beforehand saying he by no means felt threatened by the violent rioters.

The Senate race in Wisconsin might be one of many nation’s most watched subsequent 12 months and little doubt one of the costly. It’s one of many few actual alternatives Democrats should increase their razor-thin majority within the Senate.

Voters elected Democrats statewide in 2018; the state flipped for Joe Biden in 2020 after serving to ship Donald Trump the presidency in 2016. However Biden’s win was so slim, Barnes isn’t satisfied it can translate simply right into a Democratic victory this time round.

After the November 2020 election, Barnes advised HuffPost that he wished Democrats fought for even bolder concepts like “Medicare for All,” confirmed up extra in rural areas, and constructed extra belief amongst communities of shade.

That mentioned, Johnson, who has solely sidled nearer to Trump for the reason that election, has turn into a straightforward goal for Democratic teams. This week, Democracy For All 2021 Motion, a coalition of greater than 20 distinguished progressive teams and unions, launched an advert concentrating on Johnson for his feedback in regards to the Jan. 6 riots.


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