Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is running for U.S. Senate. He joins a growing field of Democrats running for the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson. Johnson hasn’t announced yet whether he will seek reelection in 2022.
The lieutenant governor was elected to his current office in 2018, alongside Gov. Tony Evers. He was the first Black lieutenant governor in Wisconsin and the second Black person elected to statewide office. Prior to serving as lieutenant governor, Barnes was a state Assembly lawmaker from 2013-2017. He made a failed bid for state Senate in 2016.
During his time in the lieutenant governor’s office, Barnes has focused on issues including climate change and racial disparities. Under the state constitution, the lieutenant governor’s office has few official responsibilities, except stepping in for the governor in the case of his or her death, resignation, removal or debilitating illness.
Gov. Evers issued a supportive statement of Barnes’ candidacy on Tuesday morning, but stopped short of endorsing him.rting Wisconsin Democrats’ choice to take on Ron Johnson in 2022.”
Barnes’ candidacy for U.S. Senate means he cannot be on the ballot for lieutenant governor in 2022. His departure from that election is expected to spur several Democratic lieutenant governor campaign announcements in the coming months. Evers announced his reelection campaign earlier this summer. In Wisconsin, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run independently, not as a pair or “ticket.”