Clyburn endorses Wisconsin lieutenant governor for Senate

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) issued an early endorsement in Wisconsin’s Democratic Senate primary on Monday, throwing his support behind frontrunner Mandela Barnes, who serves as the state’s lieutenant governor. 

“Mandela is hands-down the best candidate to defeat Senator Ron Johnson, expand our majority in the United States Senate, and deliver results for the people of Wisconsin,” Clyburn said in a statement. 

The Democratic whip noted Barnes’s “historic candidacy” in the same statement. Barnes would be the first Black senator from Wisconsin if elected. 

“Mandela is a proven leader who has shown he will always stand up for people from every corner of Wisconsin,” Clyburn said. “The son of a proud union family, Mandela learned firsthand what it takes to work hard and fight to create opportunities for middle-class families.”

Clyburn was credited with turning the tide for President Biden in the 2020 Democratic primary when he galvanized Black voters in South Carolina and across much of the country to support the former vice president. Earlier this year, Clyburn endorsed and campaigned for Shontel Brown in the Democratic primary for Ohio’s 11th House District. Brown later defeated progressive Nina Turner in the Democratic contest.

He was most recently on the trail last month for former Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe, who narrowly lost that state’s gubernatorial bid to Republican Glenn Youngkin. 

Barnes is one of 12 candidates running the state’s Democratic primary for Senate. He is seen as the front-runner, according to fundraising numbers. His campaign raised $1.1 million between July 1 and Sept. 30. Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry also raised more than $1 million during the time period, but each donated large sums of money to their campaigns. 

Incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) has not yet confirmed whether he will run for reelection. However, he said last week he would be making a decision soon. 


Tags Glenn Youngkin Joe Biden Ron Johnson Terry McAuliffe

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