Speed Reads

2022 watch

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes enters race for Ron Johnson's Senate seat

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) announced on Tuesday he is running for the Senate, hoping to take over the seat now held by Sen. Ron Johnson (R).

Barnes, 34, is the eighth Democrat to officially enter the 2022 race. He released his first campaign video on Tuesday, and in it, vows to fight climate change, boost health care, create well-paying jobs, and "protect our democracy and the right to vote."

Johnson, who has not yet said if he will run for a third term, was one of former President Donald Trump's staunchest supporters. He pushed false claims of election fraud after Trump lost the November election to President Biden, downplayed the severity of COVID-19, and called climate change "bulls—t." During an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Barnes said the 2022 election gives voters "a real opportunity, not just to get rid of one of the most cynical, destructive politicians we've seen since Joe McCarthy, it's also an opportunity for us to turn the page, lead with a vision, lead with our values."

Barnes, whose term as lieutenant governor ends in January 2023, previously served in the state Assembly. He is Wisconsin's first Black lieutenant governor.