GREEN BAY, Wis. – With just over a week until Election Day, Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is on a 16-day, 100-stop bus tour across Wisconsin as he campaigns to unseat Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.
On Thursday night, Barnes held a “Latinos for Mandela” event at a local Mexican restaurant in Green Bay, Wisconsin. People drank margaritas and snacked on chips while Barnes criticized his opponent for lining the pockets of his wealthy donors.
Coming just one day after the guilty verdict of Darrell Brooks Jr., the Wisconsin man who slammed his SUV into a Christmas parade and killed six people while out on bail, Barnes addressed the verdict.
“My heart goes out to the families of all the victims, and I’m glad justice was finally served, and I hope the families will get some closure,” Barnes said at the event.
One GOP ad used the Waukesha Christmas Parade attack to portray Barnes as soft on crime. At another “Latinos for Mandela” event in Milwaukee Saturday, Barnes said “it is a shame that Ron Johnson brings up crime, given the fact that he has done nothing, not a single thing to solve crimes.”
Barnes criticized Johnson for not urging Oshkosh Corp. to manufacture the U.S. Postal service trucks in Wisconsin, which would have added over 1,000 union jobs.
“The package of bills that will help get dangerous weapons off the streets and out of the hands of criminals, Ron Johnson was nowhere to be found. Ron Johnson is about sending jobs out of the state and out of the country,” Barnes said. “In communities that have good paying jobs, when schools are fully funded, crime is not an issue. Ron Johnson is only trying to scare people because he is hiding from his record of doing nothing.”
Hispanic voters at Barnes’ events say they appreciate how Barnes listens to their community.
“It’s an easy choice for me. I am going to vote up and down the ballot for all democrats because at this point the Republican Party is not doing the job for all Americans and that’s sad to see,” Hector Rodriguez said. “I used to vote Republican. Not anymore because they are just doing things for a select group of people, usually the people who have money.”
Rodriguez says that he likes that Barnes has fresh ideas.
“He is someone that is open to hear us. The fact that he is here today wanting to talk to us Hispanics, wanting to hear about us, it makes a strong statement,” Rodriguez said.
Barnes’ campaign says he raised $8.5 million in the first 19 days of October, three times more than his opponent.
“There is a surge of enthusiasm for this campaign for the opportunity, not just to get rid of Ron Johnson, but to bring real opportunity to people all across the state of Wisconsin and totally change how things are done in Washington,” Barnes told Fox.
Johnson is about to kick off his own bus tour of starting Friday.