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Mandela Barnes wins Democratic primary for Wisconsin's U.S. Senate, TMJ4 projects

mandela barnes
Posted at 8:25 PM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 23:16:06-04

MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has won the Democratic primary election for Wisconsin's U.S. Senate seat and will now face off against incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson in the general election in November, TMJ4 News projects.

Barnes faced off against fellow Democratic challenger Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. Barnes received 81 percent of the vote, compared to Godlewski's 7 percent.

>> Get live election results here

WATCH: Barnes gave his acceptance speech Tuesday evening at The Cooperage.

Mandela Barnes acceptance speech

“Growing up, I didn’t see a lot of politicians who look like me or a lot of politicians that share my experience, also didn’t see a lot of candidates who had experience being in the working class, and quite frankly, I still don’t," Barnes said. "I don’t fit the bill of what a normal politician should look like, but I’ve learned that is not a bad thing. That is a good thing. We need more real people in the United States Senate, because as you all know the way that we’ll change Washington is when we change the people we send to Washington. I’m here to tell you, that work starts today.”

Barnes' campaign issued a statement, saying “Wisconsin deserves to be represented by leaders who have a firsthand understanding of the challenges they’re facing and their hopes for the future. This isn’t about red or blue, or left or right. It’s about who’s been on top and the rest of us who Ron Johnson has consistently been left at the bottom. I’m so grateful to accept the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate. Together, we’re going to move forward and fight for the better future we deserve.”

WATCH: LaJuan Barnes, Barnes' mother, speaks

LaJuan Barnes- Mandela’s mother

The race in battleground Wisconsin, which Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016 but lost by a nearly equal number of votes in 2020, could determine which party holds majority control in the 50-50 Senate.

Barnes, who is Black, was born and raised in Milwaukee. He served two terms in the state Legislature before being elected lieutenant governor in 2018. Barnes opted against seeking a second term with Gov. Tony Evers to instead run for Senate.

Barnes, 35, contrasted himself with other candidates in the primary, emphasizing his middle-class upbringing as the son of a public school teacher and factory worker, both union members. Barnes paid no income tax and was on the state’s Medicaid program while running for lieutenant governor in 2018.

He secured some big progressive endorsements in the primary, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Barnes also played a pivotal role in landing the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee. The event was moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The general election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Head to the state's election page for voting details.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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