Democratic candidate Mandela Barnes leading in poll against Wisconsin Sen. Johnson 

If elected in November, Lt. Gov. Barnes would be youngest member of the U.S. Senate and the first Black senator from Wisconsin.

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Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is now reportedly leading in the race for a U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican incumbent and Trump acolyte Ron Johnson. 

The Hill is asserting that Barnes is leading in the race by 7 percentage points, according to a poll from Marquette University Law School released Wednesday. A majority of the poll’s respondents — 51% — are supporting Barnes, compared to 44% for Johnson, with a margin of error of 2 points.

Wisconsin Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, greets guests during a campaign event at The Wicked Hop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Barnes faces incumbent GOP Senator Ron Johnson in the general election in November. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The report notes that the responses are starkly divided along partisan lines. It claims 95 percent of Democrats support Barnes, and 92 percent of Republicans support Johnson. Barnes reportedly leads among independents, however, beating Johnson 52 percent to 38 percent.

Securing Johnson’s seat would be a major win for Democrats, who are hoping to expand their control of the Senate, which is split 50-50 between the two parties. 

As an ally of former President Donald Trump, Johnson has been a frequent fixture on Fox News. Elected in 2010, he’s been vocal with conspiracy theories about the deadly coronavirus and the integrity of the 2020 election. Most recently, he has been criticized for his deeply conservative views, including recent statements that Social Security and Medicare should be categorized as discretionary spending, which would require their budgets to be reviewed annually by Congress. 

At only 35, Barnes would become the youngest member in the Senate if elected in November, and he’d also be Wisconsin’s first Black senator.

The politically progressive Democrat — who was elected his state’s first Black lieutenant governor in 2018 — regularly posts TikTok videos in which he calls for an end to the filibuster, codification of Roe v. Wade into law, and for Congress to pass the Equality Act to enact protections for transgender people, according to CNBC

Barnes has also been focused on highlighting that Johnson is one of the richest members of the U.S. Senate, compared to his own middle-class upbringing in Milwaukee.

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