Democrat Mandela Barnes won the party nomination for the Senate seat in Wisconsin in the US primaries and has set a date with GOP nom Ron Johnson, with the two set to go head to head in November. 

Johnson, first elected in 2010, had run for the 2016 election again pledging that his second term would be his last. When he eventually decided to run for a third term, Johnson reasoned that this initial pledge hadn’t accounted for Democrats controlling the White House, Senate, and Congress. 

The incumbent has been focused on Barnes for weeks, calling the Democrat party’s ticket a “radical left candidate”, adding he’s a “progressive puppet out to fundamentally change America”. 

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Though the GOP candidate has the dissatisfaction of voters with US President Joe Biden and other Democrats working for him, Johnson has also had to contend with individual unfavourable views that people hold of the Republican. Part of the efforts to revamp this image is to focus on his role in fighting inflation and the part he played in the 2018 law allowing terminally ill patients access to experimental drug treatment. 

The battle in Wisconsin is bound to be tough but Johnson and his team seem ready to take on Barnes, portraying him as someone largely out of touch with his voter base. 

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“(Barnes) is out of touch with where the majority of the state is”, advisor Ben Voelkel told CNN, adding, “Mandela Barnes talks a lot about his dad working the third shift work. … Mandela Barnes hasn’t done any of that. He has been a career political activist.”

Wisconsin has been highly polarized and a political hotbed since the fights regarding the 2011 and 2012 union bargaining rights. Donald Trump narrowly won the state in 2016, which swung back to Democrats and Joe Biden in 2020.