Jul 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes announces run for U.S. Senate

Mandela Barnes speaks at rally in 2018.

Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes announced Tuesday that he'll be joining the Democratic primary race for Senate, a seat currently held by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

Why it matters: Barnes, 34, could become the first African American from Wisconsin to serve in the Senate, if elected, AP notes.

  • Barnes becomes the seventh Democrat to enter the race for the Senate seat, while Johnson has yet to announce whether he plans to seek reelection.

The big picture: Barnes, the first Black lieutenant governor in Wisconsin, will give up his chance to run for a second term in 2022.

  • The Democrat field includes Wisconsin state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, state Sen. Chris Larson, and Alex Lasry, a businessman whose family owns the Milwaukee Bucks.
  • Barnes was outspoken and gained national attention after a Kenosha police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, last summer.

What he's saying: "Hard-working families deserve every opportunity, but politicians like Senator Ron Johnson aren’t delivering," Barnes said in a tweet. "Instead of changing our dreams, we need to change the game."

Go deeper