Ron Johnson Loses Wisconsin Senate Debate To Democrat Challenger


It was not Ron Johnson’s (R-WI) opponent who did the most damage to the senator, his own comments led to laughter and boos from the audience. With under a month until the elections, that was not the response Johnson needed in what could be a very tight race.

Sitting Senator Johnson and Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes (D) debated before an audience at Marquette University. And Barnes left Johnson in the dust by hitting the Republican hard for being against issues such as a woman’s right to choose. The senator also supported cutting Social Security and Medicare, making them options up for a vote every five years. And Barnes was all in on a tax cut for the most wealthy Americans and big business:

‘When Senator Johnson talks about making Social Security discretionary spending, that means he’s coming for your retirement.’

Former NBC Universal executive Mike Sington said:

‘Debate audience laughs out loud at a sitting United States Senator, Ron Johnson, as he makes a fool of himself.’

Debate audience laughs out loud at a sitting United States Senator, Ron Johnson, as he makes a fool of himself.

— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) October 14, 2022

The audience’s boos for Johnson occurred when he hit these sore point. But the senator drew laugher over his views on Russia and the FBI, according to The Huffington Post :

‘But it was an exchange about Russia that stood out for me. Barnes criticized Johnson for once calling Russian President Vladimir Putin “a smart guy” and charged that the senator was told by the FBI that he could be a target for Russian disinformation…. Johnson countered by accusing the FBI of “setting him up” with a “corrupt” briefing.’

The senator drew more laughter when he said he “honored” his oath to always “tell the truth:’

‘In his pitch for another term, Johnson declared that he has “honored” his promises to always tell the truth and never conduct himself with reelection in mind—remarks that drew laughs from the audience.’

The lieutenant governor called Johnson to task for voting against increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour where it has stagnated for over a decade. This in the face of nearly a nine percent inflation marker. The Wisconsin senator even went further decrying the need for a minimum wage at all. His big idea was:

‘[T]he marketplace [should] take care of it rather than government.’

If that were the case, the minimum wage should be far higher. Barnes caught his opponent on that:

‘It’s odd that you can make the argument about inflation and how costs are increasing and not support raising the minimum wage.’

Johnson tried to go after Barnes’ record of supporting a woman’s right to choose. He suggested Wisconsin should implement a stay on the issue. He said:

 ‘At what point does society have the responsibility to protect the life of an unborn child?’

Then the senator could not even give Barnes a decent response to the moderator’s ask to say something good about his opponent, instead saying:

‘[W]hen did you turn against America?’

Wisconsin State Director of the Working Families Party, Jake Spence, currently supports the Democratic candidate and released a statement:

‘[Offering] a glimpse into Ron Johnson’s America—an America where there’s no minimum wage, where no one has access to abortions, where violent insurrectionists are protected by law, while Americans dependent on Social Security and Medicare are tossed aside.’

Spence continued, saying that Johnson was all for “raking in millions of dollars for himself:”

‘Trump Republicans like Johnson are good at just two things: restricting freedoms, and raking in millions of dollars for himself and his donors at the expense of working families,. As senator, Mandela Barnes will go to the mat for working people, whether it’s defending abortion access or ending bad trade deals. It’s clear from tonight’s debate and it’s clear from everything we’ve heard at the doors—Mandela Barnes is the right choice for Wisconsin’s working families.’

When Johnson hit his high notes, the Twitter world responded. In a brilliant understatement journalist Aaron Ruper tweeted:

‘[S]uffice it to say the audience does not seem to be into Johnson.’

‘Self-serving, multimillionaire Ron Johnson might not need Social Security and Medicare to retire but the rest of us are depending on it. We WILL NOT let him put them on the chopping block.’

‘Moderators closed tonight’s Wisconsin Senate debate by asking each candidate to say something they find admirable about the other.

Lt. Gov Mandela Barnes (D) said Sen. Ron Johnson (R) is a “family man.”

Johnson said Barnes is “against America.”

The audience booed Johnson.’

These were just a few tweets from those who enjoyed the good laughs.

Christie writes Gloria Christie Reports & Three White Lions Substack newsletters and a Three White Lions podcast available on Apple, Spotify, etc. She is a political journalist for the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery (in progress). Find her here on Facebook. Or at Three White Lions her book on Amazon Kindle Vella and the Gloria Christie Three White Lions podcast on Apple, Spotify, etc.