Graham Kilmer

Mandela Barnes Forms Political Action Committee

The Long Run PAC will support new generation of progressive candidates.

By - Feb 7th, 2023 05:25 pm
Mandela Barnes. (Public Domain).

Mandela Barnes. (Public Domain).

Former lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes has announced the formation of a new political action committee to support new progressive candidates that might not have access to the Democratic Party’s deep resources.

It’s called The Long Run PAC and it was formed “to ensure the next generation of groundbreaking candidates has the resources and support they need to cross the finish line,” according to a statement from the new organization Tuesday.

PACs are private political organizations that raise money to support political campaigns or for direct spending on advertising for campaigns, specific legislation and issues.

The idea for the PAC is drawn, in part, from Barnes’ own recent experience running for U.S. Senate. As the PAC noted in its statement, “Despite being massively outspent and written off by nearly every pundit, Mandela came within 26,000 votes of defeating entrenched incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson.”

Republican donors and allies paid for an avalanche of attack ads against Barnes in the run-up to the election in November 2022. And Wisconsin’s own Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler has suggested that the national party failed to muster substantial resources for the Barnes campaign in the critical final months.

“If you were going to allocate resources for maximum impact,” Wikler told the New York Times, “you wouldn’t let Mandela Barnes be outspent by $26 million on independent expenditures and lose by 26,000 votes.”

Barnes said the new PAC will focus resources on a new generation of diverse candidates carrying progressive politics forward. “Working class candidates, young candidates, candidates of color, and LGTBQ+ candidates are shattering ceilings, breaking new ground, and redefining what a winning candidate looks like and where they come from,” he said in the announcement.

The candidates in this new generation are all being asked the same question, Barnes said, “‘Can you win?'”

“The Long Run PAC is my way of making sure the answer to that question is a resounding, ‘yes.’ Because winning a race isn’t just about what you put in on race day, it’s about the support, training, and resources you put in from day one.”

Barnes first ran for office in 2012, defeating then-incumbent state representative Jason Fields in Wisconsin’s 11th Assembly District. He won re-election in 2014, and in 2016 he ran against state Sen. Lena Taylor for the 4th district. He lost that campaign, but two years later he joined the winning Democratic ticket under gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers, defeating Republican Rebecca Kleefisch to become the first Black Lt. Governor in Wisconsin.

Categories: Politics, Weekly

One thought on “Mandela Barnes Forms Political Action Committee”

  1. nickzales says:

    Mr. Barnes ran a historically poor campaign. If he thinks he did well, that’s his opinion. The national media had Ron Johnson marked as the most vulnerable U.S. Senate candidate. After 12 years of enriching himself and his family using tax money, spending the 4th of July in Russia instead of being here, participating in a plot to overthrow the government, and making stupid statements, such as “Wisconsin does not need more jobs,” he had been declared by most as Wisconsin’s worst senator ever. Then Barnes backed away from his previous progressive statements and paid the price. People wanted a significant rational change after four years of trump. It never happened. That campaign is over. It was probably the Democrat’s worst loss in Wisconsin history. I wish him well, but he needs to wake up to the reality of what is needed to win a campaign outside of a small geographic area that is 80% Democrat.

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