Johnson, Barnes show no common ground in US Senate debate


MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WBAY) — The close race for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seat took center stage Friday night as Republican incumbent Senator Ron Johnson debated Democratic Wisconsin Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes. It was the first of two debates in the Senate race.

It was a very negative run if you look at the TV ads, but on Friday the two candidates were courteous to each other and met deadlines.

But they definitely agreed on very little when it came to issues.

On the issue of abortion, Senator Johnson wants a statewide referendum. “We all agree that society has a responsibility to protect life, but when does society have a responsibility to protect life in the womb? I want us the people to decide that.

“If I were in the United States Senate, I would absolutely vote to codify Roe vs. Wade to protect the right to abortion and the right to choose in the law once and for all to protect women’s rights,” Barnes said when it was her turn.

Barnes focused much of his campaign on the abortion issue, while Johnson ran attack ads calling Barnes soft on crime. Solutions to crime was an issue both candidates were asked about.

“What we need to do is make sure communities have the resources to stop crime from happening in the first place,” Barnes replied. “That means fully funding our schools. It also means making sure there are well-paying jobs in the communities,”

“He says it pains him to see police budgets fully funded. So that’s his point of view,” Johnson said. “Every time I see a police officer, I approach them and say, ‘Thank you for your service’, and if I have time, I say, ‘Please don’t be discouraged by the loud few who try to dismantle you.’”

On the issue of President Biden’s executive order to forgive up to $20,000 in student loans, the two also had different reactions.

“People are saddled with student loan debt, burdened with student loan debt, can’t fully participate in the economy,” Barnes said. “So it’s only right that people get student loan relief.”

“I think that’s grossly unfair,” Johnson countered. “I think people who never went to college and people who skimped and saved and sacrificed for their student loans aren’t particularly happy.”

The issue of the Capitol riots on January 6 has prompted some accusations.

“I know it’s blown because everyone wants to focus on January 6, when we should also be looking at the violence that happened in 570 riots, again 2,000 law enforcement officers. order injured in these riots, a few dozen people lost their lives, including two in Kenosha,” Johnson said.

“He may not have noticed an insurrection happening because he called these people ‘patriots’. He called them “tourists”. These are the people he supported. It was an act he supported,” Barnes charged.

When it comes to green power, Barnes says Wisconsin needs to become a leader among states making this investment.

“What we also need to do is move more toward a clean energy economy and make sure Wisconsin is in the driver’s seat. Eighty percent of the world’s solar panels are built in China. We can build them right here in Wisconsin,” Barnes said.

“Wind and solar are unreliable. They make our network very unreliable. The reason you’re now paying more than $4 a gallon at the pump is because of the Democrats’ war on fossil fuels,” Johnson said.

The second US Senate debate will take place on Thursday, October 13, followed by the debate for the governor of Wisconsin on Friday, October 14.


The first of two big debates in the race for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seat took place on Friday night. Republican incumbent Senator Ron Johnson and Democratic challenger Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes squared off in Milwaukee.

Both candidates have a lot to do in this debate. The race itself was extremely negative and one of the most expensive in the country.

Until a few weeks ago, Mandela Barnes was considered to have a slight edge, but the polls have turned around. Now Senator Johnson is the one leading Barnes by a few percentage points.

This is largely due to Johnson attacking Barnes in numerous advertisements, calling Barnes soft on crime.

Barnes has previously said he favors eliminating cash bail and reducing the prison population. This is likely to come up in Friday’s debate.

Another question will probably be about abortion. Barnes toured the state as part of a “Ron Against Roe” campaign. Barnes says he doesn’t support any limits on abortion. Johnson says he would only support exceptions for rape and incest.

Wisconsin’s abortion law dates back to 1894 and would ban all abortions except when two doctors agree the mother’s life is in danger.

Questions about inflation and green energy are also likely to be raised, and perhaps the threat of nuclear war in Ukraine. Information on the topics covered can be found on the Wisconsin Association of Broadcasters website during the debate.

The outcome of the race could play a role in determining which party controls the US Senate.

The debates are organized by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation and sponsored by the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Wisconsin Counties Association.

The election is Tuesday, November 8.

The Senate race was extremely negative and extremely costly


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