After spending more than $12 million of his personal fortune on his campaign, Milwaukee Bucks Executive Alex Lasry has ended his campaign for Senate and thrown his support to Lt. Gov Mandela Barnes.
Lasry is the second top Democrat to drop out and back Barnes in three days.
The two former rivals in the democratic primary are now united in their efforts to unseat incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., in a state flipped by President Joe Biden in 2020.
“At the end of the day this campaign wasn’t about me," Lasry said. "This campaign was about the people of Wisconsin and it is clear that the best person to be able to defeat Ron Johnson is Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes."
“I am so grateful to Alex for all of the work he’s done to move Wisconsin forward, and I’m proud to have his endorsement,” Barnes said. “I deeply admire Alex’s commitment to creating good union jobs and raising wages throughout his career and throughout this campaign, and the work he’s done to bring pride and opportunity to Milwaukee, a city we both love.”
"Throughout this race I have always been proud to call Alex a friend. I look forward to continuing that friendship as we hit the trail," he added. "Together, we are going to unite Wisconsinites from every corner of the state to defeat Ron Johnson.”
Should the eventual Democratic nominee prove victorious in November, the makeup of the Senate, currently 50-50, will likely change, providing more leeway for the Biden administration.
So, what might this shift mean for one of the nation's most closely watched races?
“Well, it almost ensures that Mandela Barnes will be the nominees, although Sarah Godlewksi’s campaign might dispute that," said Dr. Charles Franklin, Director of Marquette Law School Poll. "But Lasry had been running well ahead of Godlewski. So with Lasry, who had been in a strong second place, dropping out, this is an awfully good sign for Mandela Barnes.”
Though the race may be over for Lasry, another Democratic hopeful, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, will not go down without a fight. She recently raised $900,000 in donations from April to June.
Godlewski spoke at a campaign event on Wednesday, doubling down on her intent to win the primary next month – and then again in November.
“That’s why I’m in this race," she said. "And I’ve got the record to prove it. I’m the only candidate that won Ron Johnson’s County, and the only candidate that actually won nine Trump, and then an election where the stakes couldn’t be higher.”
“...[Ron Johnson] is doing things like taking away choice," she added. "He’s not supporting commonsense gun safety legislation. And these are really core issues. And these are things that we’re talking about the entire time.”
Lasry wasn’t the only Democrat to drop out of the Wisconsin Senate race this week: Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson endorsed Barnes after suspending his campaign on Monday when his campaign ran out of cash.
"Mandela can now count on me to be on his side every step of the way,” Nelson said in a statement. “I urge other Democratic primary voters to also support him now as well.”
“I deeply respect Tom Nelson’s commitment to the working people in this state and I’m thankful for his endorsement,” Barnes said. “It will take all of us coming together in every corner of this state to beat Ron Johnson.”
Wisconsin's primary is set for Tuesday, Aug. 9.