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Mandela Barnes grasps for Obama and Democratic cavalry as he trails in Wisconsin: Report

Yearning for a campaign boost in the final sprint of the midterm elections, Wisconsin Senate hopeful Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is clamoring for high-profile reinforcements.

Behind the scenes, Barnes’s campaign has contacted former President Barack Obama’s team to ask him to stump for him on the campaign trail, two sources told Politico. His allies have reportedly mulled having Vice President Kamala Harris, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), President Joe Biden, and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) go to bat for him as well.


Despite heavy enthusiasm for Obama cameos on the campaign trail among Democratic contenders, the former president has been keen on keeping a relatively careful and limited midterm footprint, CNN reported.

Wisconsin Democrats have also been in touch with Harris and Sanders, though it is not clear whether either will ultimately stump for him, according to the report. They have reportedly been in various stages of planning a visit to the state from Sanders and Harris.

Sanders has been eyeing a trip to Wisconsin in the midterm homestretch, keen on shoring up the slim tiebreaker Democratic majority in the Senate.

Sen. Ron Johnson, left, and his Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes wait for the start of a televised debate, Friday, Oct. 7, in Milwaukee.

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Added firepower could also come from Khanna and Biden. Wisconsin Democrats have reportedly mulled the prospects of tapping both of them to come to the state as well. Khanna is expected to come to the Badger State next week.

Ironically, Barnes skipped out on an appearance with Biden during his trip to Wisconsin last month. Biden has suffered from lackluster approval ratings, which have fomented an apparent unease among Democrats in tight races from campaigning with him.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), for example, has stated that he has no plans to campaign with Biden for his battleground Senate race, though he attributed that to his desire to fight his own political battles.

On Wednesday, Barnes attended an event in Milwaukee with first lady Jill Biden.

Any campaign visits from big-name Democrats such as Harris, Sanders, Khanna, and Biden have not been finalized, reports said.

Republicans have hammered Barnes, seeking to paint him as a soft-on-crime candidate and a puppet for national Democrats who have damaged the economy. But given the onslaught of attacks tying him to national Democrats, Barnes’s campaign believes it could be beneficial to capitalize on their celebrity.


The Wisconsin Senate race is seen as crucial in the battle for control of the Senate, but Barnes has been lagging behind his general election foe Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) in polling. He is down 2.8 percentage points in the latest RealClearPolitics polling aggregate. A recent Marquette University Law School poll showed him down 6 points.

“A 50/50 Senate isn’t working. EVERYTHING is on the line … including women’s fundamental right to make decisions about their health,” Barnes warned in a recent tweet.

The Washington Examiner reached out to a Barnes campaign spokesperson for comment.

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