Campaign

Bernie Sanders endorses Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin Senate race

Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday endorsed Democrat Mandela Barnes in the state’s Senate race, becoming the latest high-profile figure to throw his support behind the lieutenant governor. 

“As the son of a public school teacher and UAW assembly line worker, Mandela Barnes knows the struggles of the working class,” Sanders said in a statement released by the Barnes campaign. 

“His agenda advances the interests of working families, not the billionaire class. I’m proud to endorse Mandela because he is the best positioned progressive candidate who will win both the primary and defeat Ron Johnson in November,” he said. 

Sanders’s move comes after Our Revolution, a Sanders-aligned progressive group, endorsed Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson in the race in April. Nelson also served as Sanders’ delegate during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Nelson released a statement on Monday touting his own work to push Sanders’ agenda.

“No one has done more to advance the cause of workers against the billionaire class than Bernie Sanders and push for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal and opposing dirty fossil fuel pipelines like Line 5,” Nelson said. “I’m proud to be the only Wisconsin campaign that’s been leading the way on these issues and will continue to.”

Barnes said he was “honored” to have Sanders’s endorsement. 

“The truth is, we have more in common with each other than we do with a pro-outsourcing, anti-jobs, anti-child care multimillionaire like Ron Johnson,” Barnes said. “Together, we’re going to flip this seat and fight for Wisconsin’s family farmers, small businesses, unions, and working families to have the fair shot they deserve.” 

Sanders is the latest senator to endorse Barnes in the race. The lieutenant governor also has the support of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Booker campaigned with Barnes on Friday, while Warren has hit the trail with him recently. Additionally, Barnes has the support of House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.). 

Most polls show Barnes and Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry leading the crowded Democratic primary field vying to take on incumbent GOP Sen. Ron Johnson. A Marquette University Law School poll released last month showed Barnes with 25 percent support, followed by Lasry with 21 percent support. Nine percent of voters backed state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and 7 percent backed Nelson. 

The candidates came face-to-face in a televised debate on Sunday where they largely zeroed in on Johnson. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the Wisconsin Senate race as a “toss-up.” 

Tags 2022 midterms Alex Lasry Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders Cory Booker Elizabeth Warren Mandela Barnes Mandela Barnes Ron Johnson Tom Nelson Wisconsin Wisconsin Senate race
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