GOP Ad Slams Radical Mandela Barnes: ‘More Worried About Criminals than Victims’ 

Mandela Barnes, Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, speaks during a campaign rally for Democratic candidates in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Senator Bernie Sanders visited Wisconsin as part of a nine-state swing with to give a boost to progressive candidates ahead of the November 6 …
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate Leadership Fund is airing an ad in Wisconsin that slams Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes for being soft on crime.

The ad, paid for by a Sen. Mitch McConnell-backed fund, features a woman whose granddaughter was harmed in the 2021 Waukesha Christmas parade attack expressing Barnes “cares more about criminals than victims”:

I received a call that my granddaughter had been hit, she suffered a serious brain injury and nearly died. The driver who hit Samantha should have been in jail. Mandela Barnes supports no cash bail. That puts criminals like Darryl Brooks back on the streets. He’s more worried about criminals than victims. Mandela Barnes doesn’t have the judgment to keep our community safe. The ad is the latest attack highlighting Barnes’ radical policies. Barnes has pushed for defunding “over-bloated” police departments and allowing felons to retain the right to vote. He also believes police do not prevent crimes from occurring.
Barnes’ soft-on-crime policies appear to be hurting his campaign fundraising and ability to reframe the campaign about Democrat issues instead of law and order. According to the Huffington Post, Democrats have been outspent by Republicans by more than 1.6 million in the last two weeks in Wisconsin, a state the GOP must hold in order to retake the Senate in November.

“A major issue: Barnes’ small-dollar fundraising dramatically trails other Democrats, in part because he did not officially become the party’s nominee until Aug. 2 and had relatively little national profile,” the Post reported. “As of his latest Federal Election Commission report, he’s raised just over $3 million in contributions of less than $200.”

In contrast, Rep. Val Demings (R-FL), who is running for Senate in Florida, has raised $26.4 million in small donations. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), a Senate candidate in Ohio, has raised $8 million in small donations.

Meanwhile, Johnson’s campaign has been boosted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), chaired by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), with a combined outlay of $2.5 million. The Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and Barnes have spent $2.2 million.

The NRSC has spent months preparing to attack Barnes and committed to defining him as a radical early in the race. The investment seems to be paying off. “Thanks to your investments, the NRSC has been able to spend heavily, early (as promised at the start of the cycle!) which has kept our candidates in the ballgame,” Scott penned a memo to donors last week. “Every Democrat we are trying to beat is under 50 in the polling right now and no Democrat has been able to pull away in the polls in our target states.”

In the same memo, Scott predicted Republicans would pick up at least two seats in November. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reportedly believes there is a 60 percent chance Democrats keep the Senate.

Races in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada have tightened within the margin of error, recent polling shows. In Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida, Republican candidates still hold leads. But in New Hampshire and Arizona, Republican candidates are losing in the polls. The McConnell-backed PAC has canceled more than $9 million in ads in Arizona and has shifted the funds to New Hampshire, Georgia, and Nevada.

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

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