Dead Heat, Again, in Wisconsin Senate Race

Dead Heat, Again, in Wisconsin Senate Race ron johnson, left, and mandela barnes preparing for a debate Ron Johnson, left, and Mandela Barnes prepare for a recent debate. (AP)

John Gizzi By John Gizzi Wednesday, 12 October 2022 10:01 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Five weeks before Wisconsin votes in the U.S. Senate race and days after the first of two televised debates between the candidates, all signs point to a cliffhanger that will almost certainly be decided by a small margin.

A new CBS News/YouGov poll of likely voters showed Republican Sen. Ron Johnson with 50% and Democrat Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes at 49%.

Conservative Republican Johnson, a successful businessman before winning his first Senate term in 2010, has broken his pledge of two-terms-and-I'm-out promise of that year to run again. This apparently has not hurt him among fellow Republicans, and Barnes has not made a major issue of it. He hit the incumbent hard on his joining Donald Trump in claims the 2020 election was stolen and defense of the protesters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Johnson has yet to back down on casting doubts about the 2020 election. However, at a fund-raising event last week at the Milwaukee home of Groupware Technologies CEO Andy Nunemaker, the senator was asked whether or not Trump should come to the state for an event.

"Johnson said Trump did a great job as President but was sometimes his own worst enemy as well as his own best advocate," a guest at the event told Newsmax. "Johnson doesn't think he needs Trump to help him win, thinks Trump might cost him votes, and doesn't want a visit from what I can tell."

Barnes, 37, is an unabashed left-of-center Democrat (he proudly supported Bernie Sanders for president in 2016 and 2020) with a strong following on college campuses throughout Wisconsin. During their recent televised encounter, Johnson hit Barnes hard for his support of the Green New Deal, Medicare-for-All, and for Barnes' condemnation of police in the Kenosha, Wisconsin, shooting of Jacob Blake, and the failure of the local district attorney to prosecution them.

Barnes, as he did in the debate, underscored his support for ending the Senate filibuster to enact pro-choice legislation. This is expected to enhance the Democrat turnout in Madison, Milwaukee, and other reliable Democrat bastions.

As it was in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, the outcome in the Wisconsin Senate race this year is not likely to be finalized until the day after the election.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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