Jeramey Jannene

Nelson Drops Out of Senate Race, Endorses Barnes

Nelson says progressives now have a single candidate to unite behind.

By - Jul 25th, 2022 07:55 am
Mandela Barnes and Tom Nelson.

Mandela Barnes and Tom Nelson.

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson announced Monday he’s dropping out of the U.S. Senate race and endorsing one of his opponents, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes.

Nelson was polling in fourth place in the Democratic primary. Barnes is polling in first, but challenger Alex Lasry has substantially closed the gap in recent months. State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski is polling in third.

The primary election is Aug. 9. The winner will face incumbent Ron Johnson in November.

Nelson, a political veteran who previously served in the state senate, had run an active, but underfunded campaign designed around generating grassroots support. He positioned himself as the most progressive candidate in the race.

“We ran out of money. So I am suspending our campaign and endorsing the one candidate who is not trying to buy this election,” tweeted Nelson.

“Mandela is a good man, a good progressive, and he’ll be a strong nominee this fall,” said Nelson in a video statement.

“I deeply respect Tom Nelson’s commitment to the working people in this state and I’m thankful for his endorsement,” said Barnes in a statement. “It will take all of us coming together in every corner of this state to beat Ron Johnson.”

Nelson has been critical of Lasry, calling him a “self-funding plutocrat.” In a recent debate, he publicly sparred with Godlewski over her failure to vote in the 2016 presidential election.

“After we defeat Johnson, we’ll work to get big money out of politics so the next underdog candidate has a better shot [and] we’ll have a Senate [with] fewer millionaires [and] more working class kids like those from the 53206 ZIP code in Milwaukee or from Carol Lynn Drive in Little Chute,” tweeted Nelson, referencing Barnes and his childhood homes.

Nelson is the second candidate to drop out and endorse Barnes publicly. State Senator Chris Larson dropped out last year and endorsed Barnes.

Nelson’s name will still appear on the ballot alongside seven other candidates. Nelson, Barnes, Lasry, Godlewski, Steven Olikara, Kou Lee, Peter Peckarsky and Darrell Williams all qualified for the ballot. Olikara participated in a recent televised debate with the other four leading candidates

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Categories: Politics, Weekly

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