Senate candidates Johnson, Barnes can’t meet eye to eye on debates

Barnes Johnson Campaign 2022

MADISON, Wis. — U.S. Senate candidates Ron Johnson and Mandela Barnes are at odds over how many debates to join, and which to take part in, ahead of the November election.

According to a release from his campaign Friday, incumbent U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has agreed to all three televised debates proposed by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, WISN and TMJ4 — the latter both TV stations in Milwaukee.

Barnes, the Democratic challenger, has agreed to only two debates — the TMJ4 debate and a forum hosted by the liberal-leaning Wisconsin Farmers Union.

“We look forward to these opportunities to share with Wisconsin voters the truth about Lt. Gov. Barnes,” said Johnson campaign spokesperson Ben Voelkel. “He’s been hiding from the public for too long and he needs to answer for these extreme positions.”

Barnes’ campaign did not give a reason for rejecting the other two televised debates in its release, saying through campaign manager Kory Kozloski that “Mandela looks forward to holding [Johnson] accountable for his record … first on the debate stage in Milwaukee, and then in his own backyard in Oshkosh.”

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In the governor’s race, both Tony Evers and Tim Michels agreed to a single debate, a WBA debate hosted at the News 3 Now studios in October.