And Then There Were Two

My choices in the Democratic primary to take on Sen. Ron Johnson are now down to two.

My top choice, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson dropped out this morning and endorsed Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. Also still in the race — and in the race for my vote — is State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, who I thought out-performed all the others in last week’s debate.

I will not vote for Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry because I think the New Yorker and son of a billionaire (his only qualification for office) has no chance of beating RoJo.

Tom Nelson worked hard, but in the end money won.

I feel bad for Nelson, who is as earnest as they come. He ran hard (visiting all 72 counties in what he called his “Full Nelson”) and he had a sense of humor. He started his campaign with a quirky video in which he pretended to sell off his kids old toys to raise money for the campaign.

Unfortunately, that turned out to be not far enough off from the truth. Nelson raised a respectable $1.4 million, but he just couldn’t compete with the $12 million of his own money (or his father’s money) that Lasry has already poured into his campaign or the $4 million that Godlewski has loaned herself. To his credit, Barnes has remained competitive in the money race without any personal wealth.

Here’s the awful irony: money only matters in the primary. Whoever wins the nomination will start experiencing a tidal wave of national bucks moments after they are declared the nominee. So, the result is that the candidate best positioned to win the general had to drop out because he couldn’t compete on a financial basis with three inferior candidates. And the candidate with the most money, Lasry, is the least likely to win in November. This is messed up, folks.

But, as they say (and don’t you wish they’d stop saying it?), it is what it is. I’m left with a choice between Barnes and Godlewski. I think either has a fair shot at beating RoJo. I’ve got two weeks to figure this out.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

One thought on “And Then There Were Two

  1. I’m not ready to eliminate Lasry and Barnes is my third choice. As a normie Dem I can’t vote for WFP candidate in a primary absent some reassurance that they’ll behave like a normal legislator. I don’t want an AoC, Hong style Senator who performs rather than acts. I’m very ambivalent right now but Barnes probably won’t get my vote


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