Walker: Democrats, not GOP, have radical abortion stance


(NewsNation) — Political polling averages show incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson with a lead over his Democratic challenger in the Wisconsin Senate race, and the state’s former governor says the reason is simple: People don’t like Mandela Barnes.

Barnes is the current lieutenant governor and held a two-point lead in FiveThirtyEight’s polling average just a month ago. But with Election Day closing in, Johnson now maintains a three-point lead and has polled as much as six points ahead of Barnes.

Joining “CUOMO” on Wednesday, former Gov. Scott Walker said voters aren’t high on Barnes because of his “radical” policy stances, particularly on public safety.

“I think once people got to know Mandela Barnes, they didn’t like him,” Walker said. “This is a guy in the past whose advocated for the end of cash bail.”

Johnson and other Republicans have attacked Barnes as “soft on crime” during the campaign. Barnes said in a debate Friday that while he supports ending cash bail, his plan would not let offenders out of jail.

“Senator Johnson may not have encountered a problem he can’t buy his way out of, but that’s not the case for the majority of people in Wisconsin,” said Barnes, sneaking a jab in at the incumbent, who is also a multimillionaire and former businessman.

Johnson hit back by highlighting Barnes’ statements on police funding and accusing him of inciting riots during protests against racism in 2020: “He says it pains him to see fully funded police budgets,” said Johnson. Barnes doesn’t support defunding the police, but he has expressed support for redirecting police funding towards alternative community safety programs.

Barnes has sought to keep the focus on abortion and attacked Johnson for supporting anti-abortion rights legislation. In reality, Walker said, Democrats, not Republicans, have radical abortion stances.

“They want abortion on demand all the way through the birth,” Walker said. “That is out of touch with the vast majority of the people of Wisconsin.”

Barnes recently declined to state support for any restrictions based on timing, though at the debate Friday, he said he would “absolutely vote to codify Roe v. Wade” into federal law as a senator. Under Roe v. Wade, abortion remained legal until the point of viability, typically around 24 to 26 weeks of pregnancy.

Pointing to legislation passed while he was governor, Walker said outlawing abortion at 20 weeks is a “reasonable, rational position that people all across the political spectrum can agree with.”

The status of abortion regulations in the was thrown into flux when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, a ruling that also gave Barnes a boost in the polls.

A 173-year-old law bans abortions in Wisconsin except to save the life of the mother, but the state’s attorney general has sued, arguing more recent laws supersede that one. Nonetheless, abortion clinics have halted the procedure while they await more clarity on the conflicting laws.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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