Barnes On the Ticket, But Out of the Media Spotlight in Lt. Gov’s Race

While the race for Wisconsin Governor is dominating Wisconsin politics this fall, scant attention is being paid to the candidates for Lt. Governor. Republican incumbent Rebecca Kleefisch and Democrat Mandela Barnes will be on the November 6 ballot with Governor Scott Walker and DPI Superintendent Tony Evers, respectively.  Barnes especially has flown under the radar until recently. Even at that, some of his past controversies still have gone largely under or unreported.

Media Trackers previously reported the allegations that Barnes assaulted protester and videographer Miles Kristan in 2015. Kristan said Barnes assaulted him after he asked a question about Barnes’ vote on the new Milwaukee Bucks arena. In the original video, Kristan noted that Barnes voted to use the public’s money to fund the Bucks arena, and approached him asking “should Wisconsin taxpayers pay for a Bucks arena.” While Barnes acknowledged that he did vote for the bill, he didn’t comment further and instead replied, “can you ask me in a different setting.” Later, as Kristan is walking down State Street in Madison, he claims that Barnes came out of a nearby restaurant and told him that if he ever embarrassed him like that again he “would F*** me up.” Kristan turned his camera on, described being pushed by Barnes, then asked onlookers if they witnessed what had happened, and they verbally affirmed the situation. Kristan also included CCTV footage of the incident in his most recent video

More recently in September, Barnes made the news when the Wisconsin State Journal reported that he suggested that President Trump’s administration wants to create a “superior race.” In response to an interviewer’s question about the inclusion of citizenship status on the 2020 census but not about a person’s sexual orientation, Barnes responded:

“The Trump administration has shown that they have this over-willingness to make people feel less than human. This is another way. It speaks to the same way they treat people at the border. It speaks to the whole concept of building a wall. It’s like a race to create a superior race in many aspects.”

Barnes also recently apologized after news broke of a 2009 tweet he authored about a lingerie party. WPR noted that in the post Barnes, “joked about ‘stimulus packages’ and used derogatory slang to refer to people who would be turned away.” Barnes has since stated that theme of the party was “immature.”