Sen. Ron Johnson Increases Lead over ‘Defund Police’ Democrat Mandela Barnes 

KENOSHA, WI - AUGUST 27: Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes speaks at a news conference on August 27, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The news conference was held to discuss the recent civil unrest surrounding the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Video shot of the incident appears to show Blake shot multiple …
Brandon Bell/Getty Images, Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has increased his lead over “defund police” Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race, an AARP poll found Thursday.

The survey shows Republicans are picking up steam in the 2022 Senate races in which they must hold Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Carolina and reclaim either Arizona, Nevada, Washington State, or Georgia to take back the Senate from Democrats.

The poll, conducted by Fabrizio Ward & Impact Research, revealed Johnson has increased his lead to five points (51-46 percent).

The poll shows Johnson has now captured majority support among voters, a key indicator in winning over undecideds. Johnson is also up by 10 points among independents, another massive margin combined with polling above 50 percent.

Johnson is also doing well with other segments of Wisconsinites:

Johnson runs 10-points stronger with men than women overall, and he is up 15-points with voters 50-64, while the race is tied among voters 65+. There’s a huge education gap on vote preference, with Johnson up 23-points among voters without college degrees, and Barnes with the same lead among voters with college degrees. Suburban voters are a competitive group with Johnson up by 9-points. Johnson is ahead by 10-points with white voters 50+, while Barnes is up 78% – 19% with Black voters 50+.

The poll sampled 1,399 likely Wisconsin voters from September 18-25 with a 4.4 margin of error.

Johnson’s polling lead has extended 4 points (48-44 percent) from an Emerson College poll on September 20. Six days prior, Johnson had taken the lead by 1 point (49 percent to 48 percent) in a Marquette Law School poll. Johnson had previously been trailing Barnes by 7 points (45-52) in August.

The polling is indicative of Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-FL) early investment in the race to frame Barnes as a soft on crime Democrat candidate. Indeed, that has proved not difficult to accomplish because of Barnes’s wild policy positions.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) speaks during a news conference after a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol on May 17, 2022 in Washington, DC. Over the weekend, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell led a group of Republicans Senators on a trip to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) at the U.S. Capitol on May 17, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Barnes has stated police departments should be defunded. He also believes police do not prevent crimes. “Police don’t prevent crimes from happening,” Barnes falsely stated on Real Talk with Henry Sanders in 2020. “We don’t live in a surveillance state nor would you want to.”

Barnes has also advocated for abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and ending cash bail. During his time as lieutenant governor, Barnes has put at least 884 convicted criminals back onto the streets by releasing them on parole, Wisconsin Right Now reported. The massive number of convicted criminals reportedly includes 270 murderers and attempted murderers, as well as at least 44 child rapists.

When questioned in 2018 if he wanted to release half of Wisconsin’s inmate population, Barnes responded, “Absolutely.”

Barnes, who was elected as lieutenant governor in 2018, is one of the most radical Democrats running for office this cycle, though he reportedly does not think of himself as a “progressive” Democrat anymore to “appear less polarizing” in his race against Johnson.

But evidence shows Barnes to be telling untruths, according to many videos unearthed by the Republican National Committee. Barnes has stated a number of radical views about race and the founding of the nation.

“We’re still waiting for our moment for America to be great,” he has said. “We still don’t comprehend that campaign slogan because it is meaningless to us as a community.”

He has called the founding of the United States “awful” and criticized national parks as a part of the systemically racist fabric of America because the “parks are on land that was indigenous.”

To remedy the United States’ alleged systemic racism in the 21st century, he has used the theory of global warming to push for “equitable and inclusive” measures to end the “long pattern of environmental racism we have witnessed in this country.”

In addition, Critical Race Theory taught in schools is equivalent hard sciences taught to students, according to Barnes. “I liken [CRT] to learning about science — like this is what it is, and people should know about it,” Barnes stated in 2021 about school curriculums. “My response is, you know, are you that ashamed of reality or that ashamed of the history that you want to make it [CRT] illegal for people to learn about it?”

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.


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