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Wisconsin’s First Black Lt. Gov. Wants to Be First African American From State in US Senate 

Mandela Barnes believes the Democratic Party needs to improve its outreach to young people and people of color. 

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Mandela Barnes Mandela Barnes wants to be the first African American from Wisconson to hold a US Senate seat.
By: ShaCamree Gowdy

Mandela Barnes, Wisconsin’s first Black lieutenant governor, announced Tuesday that he will be taking it a step further as he seeks to become the state’s first African American to serve in the US Senate. 

“I’m running for the United States Senate because when things get tough, we shouldn’t lower our expectations,” Barnes said in a campaign video, as reported by The Guardian. “Instead of changing our dreams, we need to change the game. Hard-working Wisconsin families deserve every opportunity, but politicians like Senator Ron Johnson aren’t delivering.” 

RELATED: Tiffany P. Cunningham Confirmed as First Black Judge to Federal Circuit  

Johnson, a Republican and ally of former U.S. President Donald Trump, was first elected to the Senate in 2010 and then re-elected in 2016, both times defeating Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold. 

He has not said if he will seek a third term, but by June he had raised more money than any Democrat, per The Guardian. 

In his campaign video, Barnes also called for “leveling the playing field” by fighting for family-supporting jobs, combating gun violence, creating a fairer immigration system, improving health care, addressing climate change and protecting democracy and the right to vote, as reported by The Seattle Times. 

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Barnes won the race for lieutenant governor by a landslide in 2018, shortly before Governor Tony Evers defeated Scott Walker. At the time, Barnes criticized Walker for his disregard toward people “who look like me” and also accused Trump of wanting to establish “a superior race.” He was a member of the state legislature from 2013 to 2017. 

Barnes is the seventh Democrat to enter the Senate race.