search
Sections List
American Journal News

Wisconsin Democrat Mandela Barnes nominated to run against unpopular GOP Sen. Ron Johnson

The state’s lieutenant governor easily won the Wisconsin Democratic Senate nomination on Tuesday.

By Josh Israel - August 10, 2022
Share
Mandela Barnes

Lt. Gov Mandela Barnes on Tuesday decisively won the Democratic primary, securing his party’s nomination to run against incumbent Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson in the general election on Nov. 8.

Barnes received 78% of the vote after his three main opponents dropped out and backed him in the past few weeks.

Johnson won the Republican primary in his quest for a third six-year term despite his earlier promise not to run for more than two terms and a 2011 attempt to amend the Constitution to impose a two-term limit on senators.

He has since claimed he did not need to keep his promise because “the country is in a different place today than it was in 2016” and “I just decided, well, I can’t turn my back at this moment, our country, I’m in a position where I can, I think, I can help improve things.”

Barnes, who would be Wisconsin’s first Black U.S. senator, is a former community organizer and state legislator who was elected lieutenant governor in 2018. He is running on a platform of support for abortion rights, middle-class tax cuts, affordable child care, climate infrastructure, LGBTQ equality, and cannabis legalization.

In a statement provided by his campaign after he won the nomination, Barnes said: “Only in Wisconsin would it be possible for the son of a third shift auto worker and a public school teacher who grew up on 26th and Locust to go on to become Lt. Governor and the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. Growing up, I didn’t see a lot of politicians that looked like me or had my lived experiences. I didn’t see a lot of candidates who had lived a working class life. Frankly, I still don’t.”

Polls have shown the vast majority of Wisconsin voters do not approve of the job Johnson has done. Behind only Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, he was ranked as America’s second-least popular senator in an Morning Consult Political Intelligence 50-state survey conducted in the first quarter of 2022.

Johnson has blamed his low level of support — around 35% approval in several recent polls — on the media and suggested he does not deserve such poor numbers.

But over his 12 years in the Senate, he has frequently taken positions that are at odds with the preferences of his constituents and with reality.

In 2017, Johnson backed then-President Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act only after insisting on adding provisions benefiting so-called “pass-through” entities, businesses that pay taxes through the personal filings of their owners. His actions saved two of his largest megadonors tens of millions of dollars in taxes and also helped his own bottom line.

“Now, did my business benefit? Sure. Did some of my donor businesses? Sure. When you give tax relief to everybody, everybody benefits,” Johnson reportedly told supporters in April.

Johnson received significant criticism from workers earlier this year after he refused to ask Wisconsin firm Oshkosh Defense, another large donor to his campaigns, to locate new jobs under a government contract in the state, saying Wisconsin already had “enough jobs.”

He opposed federal legislation to support the U.S. microchip industry as it competes against China, saying the government should not be “picking winners and losers.”

Johnson has repeatedly pushed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, which makes health insurance coverage available to 31 million Americans.

He backs a ban on nearly all abortions and is co-sponsor of a resolution to declare the week of the November election “National Pregnancy Center Week” in honor of anti-abortion so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” that manipulate pregnant patients with lies and misinformation to prevent them from choosing to have an abortion.

On Aug. 2, Johnson argued that federal funding of Medicare and Social Security, the nation’s social safety net entitlement programs that provide health care and retirement income to millions of Americans, should no longer be mandatory and should become optional each year.

“What we ought to be doing is we ought to turn everything into discretionary spending, so it’s all evaluated, so that we can fix problems or fix programs that are broken, that are going to be going bankrupt,” he told Wisconsin radio station WTAQ.

Johnson has consistently opposed LGBTQ equality, claiming that an explicit federal ban on discrimination would “have horrible unintended consequences” and intentionally misgendering transgender kids.

He has fought against legislation to curb gun violence, voting against debating the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act compromise bill in June.

Johnson has been one of the nation’s leading purveyors of false information about COVID-19 and coronavirus vaccines.

He also pushed debunked claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election and was implicated in an unsuccessful attempt to use fraudulent pro-Trump electors to overturn President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Johnson, a multimillionaire, has been a national leader in the fight against providing affordable child care for working parents. In January, he told a reporter, “I’ve never really felt it was society’s responsibility to take care of other people’s children.”

After constituents grilled him over the comment, he suggested that struggling single mothers should take care of each other’s kids.

The Wisconsin Senate race is expected to be close. The most recent Marquette University Law School poll, conducted in June, found Barnes leading Johnson 46%-44% among registered voters.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


Read More
New NC GOP chair flirts with bogus stolen election conspiracies

New NC GOP chair flirts with bogus stolen election conspiracies

By Jesse Valentine - April 19, 2024
Texas activists pushed abortion restrictions in NM cities and counties, records show

Texas activists pushed abortion restrictions in NM cities and counties, records show

By Austin Fisher, Source NM - March 04, 2024
Cannabis workers across Missouri begin push to unionize dispensaries 

Cannabis workers across Missouri begin push to unionize dispensaries 

By Rebecca Rivas - December 04, 2023
Curtis Hertel Jr. places public service over politics in Michigan congressional run

Curtis Hertel Jr. places public service over politics in Michigan congressional run

By Alyssa Burr - October 20, 2023
Republican Virginia Senate candidate Danny Diggs has ties to hate groups and extremists

Republican Virginia Senate candidate Danny Diggs has ties to hate groups and extremists

By Josh Israel - October 20, 2023
Demands grow for Wisconsin Supreme Court to redraw the state’s legislative maps

Demands grow for Wisconsin Supreme Court to redraw the state’s legislative maps

By Rebekah Sager - October 19, 2023
AJ News
Latest
Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

By Jesse Valentine - May 24, 2024
What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

By Chabeli Carrazana and Shefali Luthra - May 22, 2024
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

By Jesse Valentine - May 21, 2024
Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

By Alander Rocha, Alabama Reflector - May 21, 2024
House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

By Jesse Valentine - May 14, 2024
Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

By Jesse Valentine - May 09, 2024
Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

By Jesse Valentine - May 07, 2024
Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - April 30, 2024
Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

By Jesse Valentine - April 30, 2024
Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - April 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

By Jesse Valentine - April 15, 2024
GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

By Jesse Valentine - March 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

By Jesse Valentine - March 08, 2024
Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

By Jesse Valentine - March 07, 2024
Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

By Jesse Valentine - March 04, 2024
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Louisiana declares abortion drugs ‘dangerous substances’ to add harsher penalties

Louisiana declares abortion drugs ‘dangerous substances’ to add harsher penalties

By Greg LaRose, Louisiana Illuminator - May 24, 2024
These U.S. Supreme Court cases could affect abortion access nationwide

These U.S. Supreme Court cases could affect abortion access nationwide

By Charlotte Rene Woods, Virginia Mercury - May 24, 2024
Mike Rogers’ ties to Chinese telecom giants fuel hypocrisy scandal

Mike Rogers’ ties to Chinese telecom giants fuel hypocrisy scandal

By Jesse Valentine - May 23, 2024
New rules protect pregnant workers, but red states sue over abortion provisions

New rules protect pregnant workers, but red states sue over abortion provisions

By Anna Claire Vollers - May 22, 2024