Democrat Mandela Barnes to take on Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson in November
Driving the news: Barnes, 35, was all but guaranteed to win the Democratic Party's nomination after his three top competitors dropped out of the race last month.
- "Mandela won this race," Milwaukee Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry, Barnes' closest competitor, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last month.
- "I think it was clear there was no path forward for us to be able to win."
The big picture: Barnes, who has supported a number of left-wing ideas, including Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, earned endorsements from major progressive figures, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
- He's also earned support from some more establishment Democrats, including Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.).
- Johnson, 67, one of the most vulnerable senators seeking re-election in 2022, has been a polarizing figure, having pushed former President Trump's false claims about the 2020 election and misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Barnes would be the first Black senator and one of the youngest to ever serve from Wisconsin if he wins in November.
What he's saying: In a statement, Johnson called Barnes "the most radical left candidate" and that Wisconsin voters didn't "have much of a choice" in advancing him to the primary.
- "The Lieutenant Governor will support all the destructive policies of President Biden and his enablers in Congress. This is a contest between radical left socialism versus freedom and prosperity," he added. " It will also pit the lies and distortions of Democrats and the media versus the truth."
What to watch: November's election could help decide control of the Senate as Wisconsin is a key battleground state that helped propel Trump to the presidency in 2016 and where Biden eked out a victory in 2020.
- Johnson, who is seeking a third term, is the only incumbent Senate Republican seeking re-election in a state that Biden won, AP notes.