Barnes raises $1.1M in Wisconsin Senate primary as other Democrats drop out

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes’s Senate campaign said it raised $1.1 million over the past week, which saw his top Democratic primary opponents drop out of the crowded intraparty race. 

The campaign also told The Hill, which was the first outlet to report on the fundraising haul, it received 21,000 donations during that same week. 

“I am so proud of the unprecedented support and unity Wisconsin has demonstrated in our fight to defeat Ron Johnson,” Barnes said in a statement. 

“We are building a grassroots movement of working people from every community who understand that we have much more in common with each other than we ever will with an out-of-touch, self-dealing multimillionaire politician like Ron Johnson. From farmers to small business owners to unions across the state, we are united and ready to fight for a fair shot for every Wisconsinite,” he continued. 

On July 25, Outagamie County executive Tom Nelson suspended his campaign and endorsed Barnes. Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry did the same on Wednesday, while state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski followed suit on Friday. The decisions effectively cleared the way for Barnes to become the Democratic nominee to take on incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in November. 

The primary is set to take place on Aug. 9, but the election narrative has already shifted to Barnes versus Johnson. On Sunday, Barnes rolled out his first ad going on the offensive against Johnson. Meanwhile, Lasry, who was well-funded and typically polled second to Barnes, has said he will use nearly $600,000 of his previously purchased airtime to run attack ads against Johnson. 

However, the incumbent senator stands to be a tough candidate to beat. Johnson raised $7 million during the second quarter, bringing in more than Barnes, Lasry, Godlewski and Nelson combined. 

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as a “toss-up.”