Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week:
Despite the projected red wave in November, control of the U.S. Senate is still very much in doubt. The electoral map is such that there are 21 Republican senators up for reelection and only 14 Democrats. The Republicans are fighting uphill to take control of the Senate. Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson is on the ballot and facing a tough reelection race in a deeply divided state. Wisconsin could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate to serve as a check on President Biden’s disastrous presidency.
Ron Johnson absolutely deserves to be reelected. Unlike many of Wisconsin’s previous senators (and the current junior senator for the state), Johnson has become a major player in Washington, advocating for Wisconsin at the forefront of every major issue. He is unabashedly conservative and passionate about the state. But if Wisconsin decides to replace their consequential senator and possibly hand the Senate over to Biden and the Democrats, then we must consider the Democratic primary.
According to the most recent Marquette poll, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is leading in the primary, but he is within the margin of error to second-place Alex Lasry. State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski is a distant third place with Outagamie County Administrator Tom Nelson close behind in fourth place. There are other candidates, but none of the others are polling over 5% with two weeks remaining until the election.
As a conservative who wants to see Ron Johnson reelected, I would like to see Barnes win the primary. He is an unserious person with truckloads of ethical issues that make him the least electable Democrat in the group. His history of not paying his taxes on time, using the State Patrol as a car service when he did not have a license, lying about graduating from college, and myriad other issues make the job of the opposition researchers easy. As far as I can tell from his Twitter feed, the most important issues to him are legalizing marijuana and him being a senator. Wisconsin deserves better than that.
While I should want Barnes to win the Democratic primary because he is such a flawed candidate, I care too much about Wisconsin to advocate for that. Too many bad politicians have been elected when they shouldn’t have stood a chance. They go on to embarrass the state for years. If elected, Barnes would be Wisconsin’s Jesse Ventura. Given that there is a slight chance that the Democratic nominee might win, I implore Wisconsin’s Democrats to evaluate their choices seriously and think hard about which candidate would be a senator of quality and integrity.
The candidates are all from the leftist side of the political spectrum. Their differences on the issues are trivial. The differences lie in experience and personality. Lasry is a bona fide carpetbagger and almost a caricature of East Coast elitism. The son of the billionaire owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, his only accomplishment is working for his dad’s company. As a conservative, I would like to see Lasry win the nomination. Should he win the seat, he is most likely to be just another rich and ineffective warm body who vacillates between supporting radical leftist causes and corporate interests. He is an empty suit, but that is how I like my Democrats.
Tom Nelson is a creature of the Wisconsin Democratic swamp. The scion of a multigenerational Wisconsin family, his roots run deep, and he is knowledgeable of the state and its issues. For Wisconsin, he would probably be the best candidate. He knows the state and knows how to work in a legislative chamber. With so little time left in the primary, he stands little chance of rising to the top, but Wisconsin’s Democrats would do well to give him serious consideration if they are looking for an actual Wisconsinite who might be an effective senator.
Just between us, Sarah Godlewski is the candidate that worries me most in the general election. She is independently wealthy, passionate, a good communicator, and very knowledgeable about issues. She has been working in leftist activism and public policy for many years and, having worked for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, is well connected into the national Democrat power structure. Were I a leftist, I would have confidence that Godlewski would be much more effective than Sen. Tammy Baldwin in advancing the leftist agenda and would represent Wisconsin well on the national stage.
It is always folly for a conservative to poke his beak where it does not belong. I fervently hope that Ron Johnson wins reelection, but in the best interests of a state I love, I equally fervently hope that the Democrats nominate someone of substance and character. Should the Democrat win, I would much rather spend the next six years writing about sincere differences in public policy than the latest goat rodeo in Washington.