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Taylor: ‘Huge’ turnout key in Johnson-Barnes, Evers-Michels races

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As seen in other states on election night, Wisconsin had many tight races for Senate and governor. As of 11:00 p.m. EST, the race between Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes was nearly a tossup, and Gov. Tony Evers (D-WI) held a slight lead over Republican challenger Tim Michels. According to State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-WI), a “huge” turnout in Wisconsin may play a role in deciding these two races. She cited the Milwaukee area, which recorded a voter turnout of 70-75%, according to Taylor.

“We had an increase in the number of young people that voted, the number of Black people that voted, and we also had a nice turnout for the number of women that voted; all populations that showed a leaning towards the issues that Barnes spoke about,” Taylor told Straight Arrow News. “The momentum on the ground in the last 30 days, but definitely in the last weeks has grown more and more.”

Wisconsin has developed a reputation as a purple state in recent years, notably going to former President Donald Trump in 2016. Taylor said she has had to deal with divisiveness in Wisconsin politics for “more than a decade.”

“Remember when we had to leave the state to deny Scott Walker quorum, myself and 13 other senators,” Taylor said. “This is the kind of politics that we’ve had going on here for some time.”

Taylor cited said divisiveness, as well as the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the economy as main factors behind the increased turnout in Wisconsin. She defended federal Democratic handling of the economy, which has been scrutinized by conservatives.

“I think we have to take into consideration things that are completely out of control of Democrats, like the pandemic. And I think that people have to really know the individuals who helped to put the economy in a boost like boost the economy, give it a jumpstart, those were the Democrats,” Taylor said. “We did those pieces of legislation and in our state in particular, Ron Johnson voted against those things.”

In the battleground state of Wisconsin, there’s still a ways to go before we have definitive results in the Senate race still very early in the counting process. But as we take a look at what that race looks like, we can pull that up. Democratic candidate Mandela Barnes is currently leading Republican Ron Johnson in that race, where we see we have over half of the ballots left accounts in this one, a tight one, for sure. And we have Wisconsin state senator Lena Taylor, here to talk about it. Lena, thank you for getting to quiet place. I know that you are at a Mandela Barnes party tonight, and separated yourself just to talk to us. But let’s talk about this specific race. You know, Johnson really widened his lead on Barnes in the lead up to tonight. So how do you think Barnes chances are tonight, and how’s the feeling where you are?
Well, I’m going to tell you the turnout in Wisconsin was huge. We had an increase in the number of young people that voted the number of black people that voted and we also had a nice turnout for the number of women that voted all populations that showed a leaning towards the issues that burn spoke about. And I will say that I believe that the momentum on the ground in the last 30 days, but definitely in the last weeks has grown more and more. You saw individuals who weren’t engaged in voting get engaged for burns, and there were lines in many places across Wisconsin, for their to, for individuals to vote, including for early voting happened. But earlier in today, we saw some decent numbers in different places for voters. So I’m excited. I believe that burns just literally put his feet to the ground all the way to the end. And I think that’s gonna pay off.
We’ll have to see how the results turn out tonight. I’m curious, what do you think of how tight the races for Governor between Democratic incumbent Tony Evers and Republican Tim Michaels?
Yes, that is also a very tight race, but our gubernatorial races, you know, have been tight over the years, I believe that Evers is going to pull it off. Governor Evers, Willie was able to distinguish himself as someone who was trying to provide the things to make it possible for Wisconsinites to live a better life, better jobs, you know, being able to provide the different kinds of things that we need for our businesses to be able to grow. And what he really showed is a commitment to our children and education. And he just frankly, came out and said, the things that Michaels have stated that he wants to do that he was not for, and I love it, because what it showed people is that Evers is about getting the job done for the people crossing party lines and when necessary, and Michael showed himself to be completely divisive.
We’re seeing Wisconsin become more and more of a purple state and more and more important in our national landscape. What do you think’s driving that?
Well, first of all, you guys are just learning it. We we’ve been a purple state, or red with blue polka dots, or I like to say blue with red polka dots for some time, I will tell you that we have probably been thrown in the national spotlight quite often. But we’ve been dealing with this issue for like, you know, more than a decade. Remember when we had to leave the state to deny Scott Walker core myself and for him 13 other senators, this is the kind of politics that we’ve had going on here for some time. And I think it really is a reflection of what we’re seeing now across the nation, a greater and greater divide, you know, that exists with voters. But I will say that I believe that Roe, I believe that economy. And I believe that just the concept of all of this submissiveness were things that people in Wisconsin were like, You know what? We’re gonna go with Tony Evers. We’re gonna go with Mandela Bronson. I believe that in the end, it’s going to work out. I want to believe that.
I’ll let you believe it. But I will say that we’re seeing in the polling and we’re hearing from voters that when it comes to the economy, they do prefer Republicans for that job. Democrats have had control for the last two years, and people are very unhappy with the way that the economy is going right now. You mentioned row and I think that a few months removed, Democrats really thought that that was going to be a winning issue for them. As far as inflation. Do you think Democrats fumbled on this at all? Do you think they could have done anything different to get their message across to voters?
Well, what I will say is it’s true that the economy has been an issue, but I think we have to take into consideration things that are completely out of control of Democrats, like the pandemic. And I think that people have to really know the individuals who helped to put the economy in a boost like boost the economy, give it a jumpstart, those were the Democrats We did those pieces of legislation and in our state in particular, Ron Johnson voted against those things. And so when people look at exact when individuals are looking at exactly what have candidates done, I think they’re able to see that Ron Johnson has not set up for the average person for the person who is not wealthy enough, for example, to buy two planes so that they can use tax credits that they voted for when they were in the US Senate like Ron Johnson.
All right, well, you have a really good pulse on the voters over there in Wisconsin and what you’ve seen over several elections. I’m curious, do you think that voters are interested in straight ticket voting this midterm election? Or do you see, do you see a scenario where maybe Evers wins and Barnes loses?
I mean, there is that possibility, because I will say that, you know, we’ve had to hit the ground running, but 70 to 75%. Turnout is what they’re saying happened in Milwaukee. That’s huge. In my nearly two decades, as a legislator, I’ve not necessarily seen that kind of turnout, especially during a midterm election. So I believe that the burns campaign really has done what Democrats often show that they can do a ground campaign, and get out the vote effort. And so in the end, I’m believing that that’s gonna matter. I saw that people were coming out all day to day, what those numbers will be for sure. I’m not sure. Do I believe that the Democrats surely could have done more sooner? Yes. I would love to have us do more sooner. But do I believe in the end that there is no real comparison between what the Republicans are offering voters and what the Democrats are? I really don’t believe it is a comparison. When you look at the average 99% that’s out there. We’re fighting for the things that matter to them your Social Security. I mean, everyone’s gonna have to go that road, Medicaid, Medicare, we’re fighting to make sure that there is a voice for all people, including women to be able to make choices for what they want to do with their body. But more importantly, I think that in the end, we need individuals who will go whether it is at the US Senate or whether it’s in a state legislature. We need candidates that are going to think about the majority of people and they’re going to make us have what is it say, a more perfect union.
Well, I will let you get back inside. Thank you so much for your time tonight. Wisconsin state senator Lena Taylor.

As seen in other states on election night, Wisconsin had many tight races for Senate and governor. As of 11:00 p.m. EST, the race between Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes was nearly a tossup, and Gov. Tony Evers (D-WI) held a slight lead over Republican challenger Tim Michels. According to State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-WI), a “huge” turnout in Wisconsin may play a role in deciding these two races. She cited the Milwaukee area, which recorded a voter turnout of 70-75%, according to Taylor.

“We had an increase in the number of young people that voted, the number of Black people that voted, and we also had a nice turnout for the number of women that voted; all populations that showed a leaning towards the issues that Barnes spoke about,” Taylor told Straight Arrow News. “The momentum on the ground in the last 30 days, but definitely in the last weeks has grown more and more.”

Wisconsin has developed a reputation as a purple state in recent years, notably going to former President Donald Trump in 2016. Taylor said she has had to deal with divisiveness in Wisconsin politics for “more than a decade.”

“Remember when we had to leave the state to deny Scott Walker quorum, myself and 13 other senators,” Taylor said. “This is the kind of politics that we’ve had going on here for some time.”

Taylor cited said divisiveness, as well as the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the economy as main factors behind the increased turnout in Wisconsin. She defended federal Democratic handling of the economy, which has been scrutinized by conservatives.

“I think we have to take into consideration things that are completely out of control of Democrats, like the pandemic. And I think that people have to really know the individuals who helped to put the economy in a boost like boost the economy, give it a jumpstart, those were the Democrats,” Taylor said. “We did those pieces of legislation and in our state in particular, Ron Johnson voted against those things.”

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