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“We Will Not Win This Race”: Can Mandela Barnes Outrun Ron Johnson’s War Chest?


Two races for the US Senate this year give Democrats the best shot at flipping seats from red to blue. You may have heard of the first one, in Pennsylvania. The contest attracted a lot of attention, thanks John Fettermanexperience near death and let Mehmet Ozthe love of crudités.

Second, in Wisconsin, not so much. The match was a slam dunk that pits an eccentric from the conservative Republican Party of incumbent Trump against a rising star of the center-left Democratic Party. Senator Ron Johnson yes floating COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theory, proposed end of Social Security, says anyone who doesn’t like Wisconsin’s abortion ban “can move”, and has caused controversy surrounding the role his apparent attempt to overturn the election of the Trump team (his office try to bring out Vice President Mike Pence a group of alternate electors before certification Joe Bidenwins.) State Governor Mandela Barnes So far keep the race close though widely and despite a relatively quiet campaign — something that is worrying some in the Democratic Party. “He didn’t do the typical eight to 10 stops that you usually do in a real airfight. Johnson is very belligerent,” said a veteran Wisconsin Democrat. “Mandela is a young, charismatic man with good stories to tell.”

This review of his schedule made the Democratic challenger laugh. “Every day is a non-stop exercise. Today is mostly back-to-back Zooms,” Barnes told me. “Last weekend, we had a really big rally with the Senator [Amy] Klobuchar, about 25 miles from the Minnesota border. Even that day, we had a full day of meet and greets. And public events are sure to increase in the coming days. In September, Barnes combined time in the state’s population centers, Madison and Milwaukee, with trips to more rural locations, including a Oneida Nation farming event outside Green Bay. and a stop at Black River Falls, population 3,523.

Johnson’s campaign has offended Barnes of about 17 million to 7 million dollars, and outside groups have about let go $26 million for Johnson, compared with $16 million for Barnes. Naturally, incumbency is a strong financial advantage. The gap also seems to be a product of the fact that small one-dollar donations to Barnes have been slow, compared with donations to other Democratic candidates around the country – which is surprising. However, since this is a high-win, high stakes race.

Barnes, 35, is also little known across Wisconsin and across the country. The son of a public school teacher and a union auto worker, he was a Milwaukee community organizer before, at the age of 25, defeating an incumbent Democratic congressman. He advanced rapidly through the state party by combining his upbringing of the middle class with a progressive agenda. In 2019, run on one ticket with Tony Evers, Barnes was elected the state’s first black lieutenant governor and in Donald Trumpyears as president, a frequent guest of MSNBC. His Senate campaign team expected — precisely — that Johnson and outside groups would try to paint Barnes as a stereotypical black, far-left, black Democrat. Barnes provided Republicans with some helpful material on this front—a few years ago, he was photographed holding an “Abolish ICE” t-shirt and said in an interview that increased funding for Neighborhood services should come from “overstretched budgets in police departments. Wisconsin TV viewers have also been hit by ads blaming Barnes and bail reform for increased crime in the state. Barnes, who used to sponsored by a (unsuccessful) bill to end cash bail in the state, stuck by his stance on the matter; he was careful to say that both police and social programs should be funded. Barnes has also countered Republican scares by playing nice. “He introduced himself as the first middle-class Democrat, a likable young man who will keep you moving when it snows,” said. Joe Zepecki, a strategist for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “I have known Mandela for a long time. He’s a fun guy and he’s a serious guy. But the number of times he smiles in these 30-second commercials, it’s a choice. They’re putting him in a very good light because they know that’s the threshold they need to cross. “



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