Mr. Ron Johnson and Mr. Mandela Barnes clashed in the Wisconsin Senate of the United States

US Senator, Ron Johnson (R) and Lt.  Gov.  Mandela Barnes (D) jots down notes before a US Senate Debate Friday, October 7, 2022, at the Milwaukee PBS Studios in Milwaukee.

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.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., left, and his Democratic opponent, Mandela Barnes, take notes before a televised debate, Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, in Milwaukee.


Like the Democrats throughout the land and the world, Barnes continued to advocate for abortion, saying he supported the laws under Roe v. Wade, which the United States Supreme Court overturned.

“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.”


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