Barnes going on offense against Johnson with focus on reproductive freedom

FILE - Wisconsin Lt. Gov. and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes participates in a televised Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Senate debate in Milwaukee, July 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

By Joe Zepecki

October 4, 2022

Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, is poised to launch a statewide tour exposing incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson’s extreme record on abortion.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision in June that overturned Roe v. Wade after nearly 50 years, access to abortion has become a leading issue in Wisconsin and nationally. Here in the Badger State, Dobbs once again made an 1849 state law banning all abortions – with no exceptions for rape or incest – the law after it had sat dormant since Roe was decided.

The ruling by the high court is extraordinarily unpopular, the last Marquette University Law School Poll found that just 30% of state residents supported overturning Roe, with 63% opposed. Amongst independent voters, the split was even more pronounced, with just 28% supporting the overturning of Roe, and 66% opposing it.

That makes Barnes move – to highlight how out of step with Wisconsin voters Ron Johnson is with a statewide tour – smart politics.

As a refresher, here’s Ron Johnson’s record, and what he’s said and done on the issue of access to abortion;

  • Sen. Johnson has co-sponsored multiple versions of Sen. Graham’s national abortion ban over the last ten years, including in the 113th, 114th, 115th, and 116th Congresses
  • Sen. Johnson co-signed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court – along with more than 40 of his Republican colleagues – expressing support for Mississippi’s 15 week ban on abortions.
  • Sen. Johnson bragged about his role in overturning Roe v. Wade in the wake of the Dobbs decision, saying he was “fully supportive” of the decision and noting that he voted to confirm multiple justices who voted to overturn Roe.

Ahead of the tour, Barnes released a statement saying, “It’s time for Ron Johnson to answer for his record of endangering women and fighting to strip them of their rights. He supported an abortion ban with no exceptions that could’ve put women and their doctors in jail. Ron can try to lie about his record, but Wisconsin voters know the truth – and we’ll hold him accountable for it in November.”

Barnes statewide tour will include stops in Green Bay, Milwaukee, Racine, Madison, and Eau Claire.


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