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Democratic Senate primary field in Wisconsin consolidates around Mandela Barnes as Sarah Godlewski ends bid

By Dan Merica and Eva McKend, CNN

Wisconsin state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski ended her US Senate campaign on Friday as the field in the Democratic primary consolidates around Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.

Godlewski, who is endorsing Barnes in the contest to take on GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, is the third Democrat to drop out of the race this week as it became clear that the lieutenant governor was likely to win the August 9 primary. Both Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson also ended their campaigns this week and endorsed Barnes.

“It’s clear that if we want to finally send Ron Johnson packing, we must all get behind Mandela Barnes and fight together,” Godlewski said in a statement. “I’m proud of what our 72-county campaign has accomplished, and while I may not be on the ballot this November, every issue we fought to bring front and center will be.”

While there are other candidates in the race, Barnes is the overwhelming front-runner in the primary and is now poised to face Johnson in November.

“I am honored to accept Treasurer Godlewski’s endorsement in this critical race,” Barnes said. “Throughout this campaign, Sarah has been a leader in the fight to protect abortion access and a tireless advocate for working people and rural communities across Wisconsin. I will proudly stand with her in those fights as we take on Ron Johnson in the fall.”

He added: “This week has demonstrated what it looks like when we come together for a goal that is greater than ourselves.”

Johnson responded to Friday’s development by saying that Democrats have now “cleared the field for their most radical left candidate.”

“Socialist policies have produced this mess, & a radical left Senator from Wisconsin is not the solution,” he tweeted.

The race against Johnson in Wisconsin represents one of Democrats’ best opportunities to pick up a Senate seat in November.

The campaign between Barnes, Lasry, Godlewski and Nelson had largely been tame, with each more focused on Johnson than each other, hinting at what is expected to be an expensive and brutal general election campaign.

This story and headline have been updated.

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CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.

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