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Mandela Barnes raised $1.23 million last quarter in fight to unseat Sen. Ron Johnson

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Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes raised $1.23 million from October to December with no corporate PAC dollars, bringing his fundraising total to over $2.3 million, his campaign said Wednesday.

Barnes’ campaign said the $1.23 million breaks down to a $43.65 average donation from 17,830 total donors, though it did not state how much money it had remaining at the end of the quarter. Full candidate reports are due Jan. 31.

“Less than 6 months into his campaign, there’s no question that Mandela Barnes has built the largest grassroots coalition and is poised to defeat Ron Johnson once and for all,” Barnes’ campaign manager Kory Kozloski said in a statement.

Barnes, along with state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, is a leading candidate in the fight to unseat Johnson, R-Oshkosh, whose announcement to seek reelection Jan. 9 led to a donation surge among every leading Democratic candidate.

Barnes, who was endorsed by Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J, last week, said he received $150,000 with over 5,000 individual donations in the 72 hours after Johnson’s announcement.

While not defining the numbers, Godlewski’s campaign manager Sarah Abel said the campaign received “a significant surge in our fundraising” after Johnson’s announcement that was still continuing two days later.

Nelson’s campaign said the day after Johnson’s announcement was his most lucrative funding day since last spring.

Finally, Lasry’s campaign spokesperson said the campaign saw a four-fold increase in donations over the previous seven-day average for the two days following Johnson’s announcement.

Still, the donation surges come amid headwinds that experts say will be hard for Democratic candidates to overcome.

“This is looking like it’s going to be a really terrific year for the GOP,” UW-Madison political science professor Barry Burden said last week, referring to Biden’s low approval rating and the favorable historical midterm outcomes for the party not in presidential power.

A Gallup poll released Jan. 17 showed the Republican Party’s momentum in action: In the fourth quarter of 2021, 47% of Americans identified as Republican and 42% identified as Democrat. While the margin is slim, it has more than flipped in the past year. In the first quarter of 2021, 49% of Americans identified as Democrat and 40% identified as Republican.

Top 10 Wisconsin political stories of 2021 (based on what you, the readers, read)

2021 was another big year in Wisconsin politics. Sen. Ron Johnson said some things. Voters elected a new state superintendent. Gov. Tony Evers and Republicans clashed over mask mandates. Michael Gableman threatened to jail the mayors of Madison and Green Bay. Here are 10 political stories you, the readers, checked out in droves.

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Since the start of the outbreak, Gov. Tony Evers has issued multiple public health emergencies and a series of related orders. 

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Sen. Ron slammed the impeachment over the weekend as “vindictive and divisive,” and possibly a “diversionary operation” by Democrats to distract from security lapses at the U.S. Capitol.

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"I wouldn’t run if I don’t think I could win," said Johnson, who is undecided on a re-election bid. 

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The board had previously not required masks in schools after some in the public voiced opposition.

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With a new order announced, Republicans may be forced to start the process all over again to vote down the governor's emergency order and accompanying mask mandate, but the most likely outcome appears to be an eventual court decision.

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Fort McCoy officials acknowledge there were initial problems with food supply, but that and other issues are being addressed.

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The idea is in its infancy and all options, including declining to pursue anything, are on the table.

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Gableman has asked the court, which plans to take up the matter on Dec. 22, to compel the two mayors to meet with him.

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Deborah Kerr said she has also voted for Republicans and tells GOP audiences on the campaign trail for the officially nonpartisan race that she is a "pragmatic Democrat."

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Limbaugh died Wednesday at 70.

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