AFSCME Council 32, a union that represents state, county, and city public employees, endorsed Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary this week. In an email first reported by The Capital Times, AFSCME Council 32 President Paul Spink announced the endorsement writing, “A former AFSCME member himself, Mandela has fought side-by-side with workers for his entire life…[h]e has always had our backs. It’s time for us to have his.” In a statement responding to the endorsement, Barnes said he’s “always been proud to work side-by-side with [AFSCME Council 32]” and that “Fighting for strong unions means fighting for strong families and strong communities.”
The endorsement from AFSCME Council 32 comes at a pivotal moment in the Democratic primary with Alex Lasry, one of Barnes’ four primary opponents, scoring a number of key union endorsements over the past year. Although Barnes has long been considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, recent polls have shown his lead may be decreasing, with a new internal poll released by Lasry’s campaign last week showing Barnes with a 3% lead over Lasry among likely Democratic voters.
In addition to Lasry, Barnes will face off against Sarah Godlewski and Tom Nelson during the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate on August 9th.