Godlewski dropping out of Senate race, helping clear way for Barnes

Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski
Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski(Office of the State Treasurer)
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 9:18 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2022 at 10:32 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - For the third time this week, the Democratic field of Senate candidates is shrinking. On Friday, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski ended her campaign; and, like the other two candidates who also dropped out in recent days, she endorsed the current frontrunner, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.

“I believed we needed more working moms at the U.S. Senate table who would fight like hell to make these issues a priority–I still do,” she said in a statement. “But it’s clear that if we want to finally send Ron Johnson packing, we must all get behind Mandela Barnes and fight together.”

Godlewski is set to make her move official during a news conference late Friday morning, where she will appear alongside Barnes. Prior to the event, the lieutenant governor released a statement praising his former opponent as a leader in the fight for abortion rights and advocate for working people.

Barnes’ comments alluded to the decisions earlier this week by Outagamie Co. Executive Tom Nelson (Monday) and Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry (Wednesday) to suspend their respective campaigns and back Barnes.

“This week has demonstrated what it looks like when we come together for a goal that is greater than ourselves,” Barnes said. “We are building a coalition that crosses generations, crosses racial divides and political divides.”

With Godlewski, Lasry, and Nelson out, four other Democrats remain in the Senate race besides Barnes: Kou Lee, Steven Olikara, Peter Peckarsky, and Darrell Williams. In a Marquette Law School poll taken last month, at which time a third of Democratic voters had not picked their candidates, none of those four were above one percentage point. With Lasry having dropped out, Godlewski was the only person left, besides Barnes, who claimed double-digit support in the poll.

Incumbent Senator Ron Johnson, who is expected to win the Republican nod over challenger David Schroeder, quickly responded to news of Godlewski’s departure from the race, declaring her campaign ending along with similar moves from Lasry and Nelson this week, “show(s) a lack of respect for voters and the democratic process.”

“The power brokers of the Democrat [sic] party have now cleared the field for their most radical left candidate,” he wrote on Twitter. “Socialist policies have produced this mess, & a radical left Senator from Wisconsin is not the solution.”

Last month’s Marquette Law poll gave Barnes a two-point edge against Johnson, 46% to 44%, which was the same margin Godlewski held in a similar hypothetical showdown (45% to 43%).

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-2nd) also tweeted about Godlewski leaving the race, thanking her for “running a positive issues-based campaign in such a great way.” The Wisconsin congressman also noted how the move will help bring the Democratic party together for the general election.

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