After tens of millions of dollars in advertising and weeks of campaigning, Wisconsin Republican US Senator Ron Johnson and his Democratic rival, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, finally squared off in their first debate on Friday night.
Meeting in a Milwaukee television studio just a month before the midterms, Johnson and Barnes each sought to portray the other as out of step with Wisconsin voters.
They clashed over crime, abortion, the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol and the violence in Kenosha.
Here are five ways to take it.
“Now, the senator has called the overturning of Roe v. Wade a victory,” Barnes said. “He celebrated the court’s decision. And he said that if women don’t like the laws of their country, like the 1849 ban on criminal abortion that we have here, he said they can walk away. It’s a very extreme position to take.”
Johnson made his referendum pledge on this issue.
“We all agree that society has a responsibility to protect lives,” Johnson said. “But at what point does society have a responsibility to protect life in the womb? I want us the people to decide that. I would have the same vote as the rest of Wisconsin.”
Bail reform and police funding
Barnes said his support for cashless bail was “misguided and sensationalized.”
“Under my plan, dangerous people can’t buy their way out of jail,” said Barnes, who favors a system in which an inmate’s incarceration is based on whether the person is a flight risk or a threat to the public. safe and sound.
Johnson responded by saying, “We have a huge crime rate problem. Another issue is that we are not keeping criminals in prison.” The senator criticized the state parole laws of Governor Tony Evers and Barnes.
On the police, Johnson admitted that Barnes has not used the term “police funding” but “has a long history of support from people in charge” and uses “code words” such as “over full police budgets.”
Barnes said “we need to make sure communities have the tools to prevent crime from happening in the first place.” He boasted of $100 million invested in state law enforcement through the American Rescue Plan, a bill Johnson voted against.
On the 6th of January
Barnes accused Johnson of trying passing a slate of fake voters to then-Vice President Mike Pence on January 6, 2021 and added, “Let’s talk about 140 police officers he left during the violence he supported.”
Nearly 140 police officers were injured in the attack, and four died by suicide in the weeks that followed.
Johnson defended his actions: “The truth of the matter is nothing is given. The whole incident lasted less than an hour.”
Marijuana is legal
With President Joe Biden pardoning thousands with minor marijuana convictions and calling for a review of federal law, lawmakers were asked about the legalization of marijuana.
Johnson said it needs to be done at the state level but added “I think any state needs to really look at the harm that legalization of marijuana is doing and really think about it.”
Barnes said he supports the legalization of marijuana and said: “Now marijuana is harmless and marijuana is something that the whole country has embraced and they are seeing amazing benefits.”
Distribution: Erin Mansfield.