Photo by Michelle Stocker, The Capital Times.

Godlewski in a statement said in order to defeat U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, she knew Dems had to band together.

“It’s clear that if we want to finally send Ron Johnson packing, we must all get behind Mandela Barnes and fight together. I’m proud of what our 72-county campaign has accomplished, and while I may not be on the ballot this November, every issue we fought to bring front and center will be,” Godlewski said.

Godlewski has planned an 11 a.m. press conference in Fitchburg with Barnes for a formal announcement.

Johnson in a tweet slammed Dems, suggesting a broader behind-the-scenes effort to prioritize Barnes’ candidacy.

“Showing their lack of respect for voters and the democratic process, the power brokers of the Democrat party have now cleared the field for their most radical left candidate,” Johnson said. “Socialist policies have produced this mess, & a radical left Senator from Wisconsin is not the solution.”

A Dem source told WisPolitics.com Godlewski’s decision likely came as staff saw the writing on the wall that her chances to win were long, and wasn’t influenced by more powerful members of the party. He said lower polling numbers compared to Barnes and the larger, and more important for Dems, goal of beating Johnson likely trumped the desire to put Godlewski in the Senate.

Outagamie County Exec Tom Nelson and Alex Lasry, on leave from his job with the Milwaukee Bucks, also dropped out of the race and endorsed Barnes this week.

Barnes said this week has shown Dems’ goal of beating Johnson is “is bigger than any one of us.”

“This week has demonstrated what it looks like when we come together for a goal that is greater than ourselves,” he said. “We are building a coalition that crosses generations, crosses racial divides and political divides. A coalition that includes farmers, union leaders, teachers, small business owners, and working people all across this state.”

Dem strategist Joe Zepecki told WisPolitics.com each campaign made its own decision independently. He said the campaigns likely conducting their own polling, which showed no clear path to victory, adding “there is no hidden hand at play here.”

He also said it’s “refreshing” to see the campaigns come together behind Barnes to give him an extra two weeks to hit the ground running ahead of the general election race.

“Now with the writing on the wall, Mandela Barnes will get a head start going into the general election,” he said. “That’s kind of the dream scenario for those who want to retire Ron Johnson.”

See Godlewski’s full statement:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/godlewski-campaign-statement-on-u-s-senate-race/

See Johnson’s tweet:
https://twitter.com/RonJohnsonWI/status/1553020221576777729

See the Barnes statement:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/barnes-campaign-statement-on-state-treasurer-sarah-godlewskis-endorsement/

This story has been updated with comment from Johnson. 

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