Mandela Barnes to take on Ron Johnson in Wisconsin Senate race

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is projected to win the state’s Democratic Senate primary, setting him up to take on Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in November. 

The Associated Press called the races for both men around 9:30 p.m. ET.

The progressive challenger touted throughout his campaign his parents’ ties to unions, his community organizing, his time as a Wisconsin state lawmaker and his current role as the state’s lieutenant governor. 

Barnes received a boost last month when three Democratic rivals — Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Milwaukee Bucks NBA team executive Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson — suspended or ended their bids and endorsed Barnes, effectively clearing a path for him.

Barnes also received endorsements from high-profile Democrats and groups, including House Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.), Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Cory Booker (N.J.), the Working Families Party, and MoveOn. 

Johnson is considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans up for reelection in November, with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report rating his seat a “toss up.”

The staunch ally of former President Trump has a history of provocative and controversial remarks and last week gave Democrats fresh ammo by suggesting Social Security and Medicare should be classified as discretionary spending.

Though there has been little recent polling of a hypothetical match-up between Johnson and Barnes, a Marquette Law School Poll survey of Wisconsin released in June found Barnes with 46 percent support compared to Johnson’s 44 percent. That fell within the margin of error, effectively tying the two. 

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