Milwaukee Bucks leader Alex Lasry is set to drop out of Wisconsin’s Democratic Senate primary on Wednesday, sources confirm to HuffPost ― emerging from a contest in which he has already contributed $12 million of his own money and cementing the position of progressive Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes as the race’s lead.
Lasry will endorse Barnes, the sources said. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported Lasry’s decision.
State Democrats viewed Lasry, a former White House aide and the son of Bucks owner Marc Lasry, as the candidate with the best shot to defeat Barnes in the Aug. 9 primary to determine who will face the U.S. senator. GOP Ron Johnson in November.
The most recent poll from Marquette University Law School found Barnes got 25% of the vote to Lasry’s 21%, with more than a third of the electorate undecided. State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski won 9% of the vote and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson won 7%.
Nelson, who was running as a progressive, dropped out of the race on Monday, citing financial inability to run against both Lasry and Godlewski, who each poured millions of their own money into the contest. The exits of Nelson and Lasry had the combined effect of cementing Barnes’ position as the contest leader, although Godlewski remained in the running.
Johnson is unpopular in public polls and Wisconsin is seen as one of the only opportunities for Democrats to clinch a Senate seat in a tough midterm environment.
Some Democrats, however, worry that Barnes’ positions on immigration, criminal justice and other issues may be too liberal for Wisconsin voters. Barnes, whose campaign has highlighted his working-class roots, would be the first black sent to the Senate from Wisconsin.
Lasry spent millions on TV ads that touted his role in building the Bucks’ new arena and portrayed him as a problem solver, but he faced backlash due to his self-funding and because he only moved to Wisconsin after his father bought the Bucks in 2014.
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