Despite Record-Breaking Fundraising, WI Dem Still Trailing Behind Republican for Senate Seat


Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes of Wisconsin, who is running for the Senate against incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, has raised a record-breaking amount for his campaign in the third quarter of 2022, his campaign announced Wednesday.

Barnes raised $20 million from July to September alone, according to representatives from the campaign speaking to CNN.

The amount is more than what Barnes has raised throughout the entire Senate campaign thus far, and exceeds Ron Johnson’s own total fundraising by approximately $3 million, according to OpenSecrets, a campaign finance tracker.

The race between Barnes and Johnson is one of the closest in the country and has gained attention as a prime battleground in Democrats’ and Republicans’ efforts to control the Senate. Johnson has consistently led in the race, up five an average of three points according to recent polling aggregated by RealClearPolitics.

Wisconsin, as a whole, has come to be considered a battleground state competitive for Republicans after former President Donald Trump won the state in 2016 by a narrow margin.

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It was the first time Wisconsin was won by a Republican candidate since the 1984 presidential election, where President Ronald Reagan won the state as part of a 49-state national landslide victory.

Though then-candidate Joe Biden won Wisconsin in 2020, the margin of victory was similarly narrow. The Cook Partisan Voting Index state map for 2022 currently gives Wisconsin a score of “Republican +2” while, in the state’s concurrent gubernatorial race, incumbent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers trails Republican nominee Tim Michels by an average of 0.5 percent, per RealClearPolitics, a polling aggregator.

“The latest poll shows Ron Johnson and I are neck and neck in this race,” Barnes wrote on Twitter. “We need the resources to compete and flip this seat. Every $ counts,” he added.

Barnes has focused his campaign on abortion following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June. On Sept. 29, Barnes began a “Ron Against Roe” tour across the state, seeking to highlight Johnson’s allegedly anti-abortion voting record.

Johnson has an A+ voting record from Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. However, he has not supported some GOP-led efforts to restrict abortion, such as a proposal by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to restrict the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Johnson and Barnes’ campaigns did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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