MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has won the Democratic Senate primary and will face Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.
Barnes’ top rivals dropped out of the race last month and backed Barnes in Tuesday’s primary. It was a sign of Democrats’ intense focus on defeating Johnson.
“Only in Wisconsin would it be possible for the son of a third shift auto worker and a public school teacher who grew up on 26th and Locust to go on to become Lt. Governor and the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate,” Barnes said in a statement following his victory. “I don’t fit the bill of a normal politician, and it took me a little while to understand that that’s a good thing. Because the way we’ll change Washington is by changing the people we send to Washington. And that work starts today.”
The Senate is currently split 50-50, with Democrats relying on the vice president to break ties, and the Wisconsin contest is expected to be one of the most competitive races for control.
Voters also are choosing a Republican nominee for governor who could reshape how elections are conducted in the marquee battleground. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed businessman Tim Michels while former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is backed by former Vice President Mike Pence.