Poll Shows Barnes Leads Among Milwaukee Democrats
Getting 39% of Milwaukee County Democratic vote. Alex Lasry polled at only 4%.
A new poll shows Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has a strong lead among likely Democratic primary voters in Milwaukee County.
Barnes is in an eight-person race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, now that State Senator Chris Larson has ended his campaign, though others may still choose to run.
The poll was conducted by Remington Research Group, a firm based in Kansas City, Missouri which has a reputation as one of the top Republican pollsters. It surveyed 766 likely Democratic primary voters in Milwaukee County. Turnout was weighted demographically to match expected turnout, according to the pollster.
Milwaukee is one of the state’s major Democratic strongholds. Winning the area is key for any Democrat trying to win a statewide race.
Based upon the poll, as of the end of July, Democratic voters in Milwaukee County were less likely to vote for Lasry than for Dr. Gillian Battino, a radiologist from Wausau — who was at 5%. Wisconsin Secretary of State Sarah Godlewski and Milwaukee Alderwoman Chantia Lewis both polled at 3% and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson got just 2%.
Lasry was among the first candidates to announce, and he’s already raised millions in campaign donations. A significant chunk of Lasry’s campaign funding has come from donors outside of the state including maximum contributions from celebrities, professional athletes and sports executives and Wall Street hedge fund managers. Lasry’s father, Marc Lasry, a billionaire hedge fund manager and co-founder of the investment firm Avenue Capital Group, was a donation bundler for the campaigns of Former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He’s also one of the co-owners of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Dan Adams, a Milwaukee attorney who runs Milwaukee Works, Inc., told Urban Milwaukee he was extremely surprised when the polling results came back showing Barnes had such a significant lead.
The conventional wisdom, Adams said, “was that there was a top tier” of candidates including Barnes, Godlewski and Lasry. The polling shows that, at least in the Milwaukee area, “It’s Mandela Barnes versus the rest.”
Barnes is a Milwaukee native and represented the area in the state Assembly before being elected lieutenant governor in 2018.
“He has fallen on his face,” Adams said. “Having one tenth of the support of Barnes at this point, you have to wonder if he is gonna reconsider his bid.”
“The problem for him is he obviously has no base here,” Adams said, questioning what his argument will be against the other candidates like Barnes, Nelson or Godlewski. “Why him and not them?”
Of course that’s just one poll. The polling website FiveThirtyEight gives Remington a B rating, finding it correctly called 73% of 43 polls.
Read the full survey here.