State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski is dropping out of the Wisconsin Democratic Senate primary and endorsing Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, her campaign announced Friday.
“It’s clear that if we want to finally send Ron Johnson packing, we must all get behind Mandela Barnes and fight together. 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,” Godlewski said in a statement.
The move follows the exits from the race this week of Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson and Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry, who both endorsed Barnes, effectively clearing the field for the lieutenant governor ahead of the Aug. 9 primary.
Barnes said in a statement that he was "honored" to accept Godlewski's endorsement.
“This week has demonstrated what it looks like when we come together for a goal that is greater than ourselves," Barnes said. "We are building a coalition that crosses generations, crosses racial divides and political divides. A coalition that includes farmers, union leaders, teachers, small business owners, and working people all across this state."
Godlewski made the final decision to suspend her campaign Thursday, calling Barnes Thursday night, a campaign aide tells NBC News. The aide said Godlewski was not pressured to drop out of the race, and this her decision was about ensuring a Democrat defeats Ron Johnson.
In last month’s Marquette University poll of the primary, Godlewski got the support of just 9% of registered Democratic primary voters. Barnes drew 25%.
Johnson responded to the news of Godlewski's decision Friday in a tweet, previewing attacks to come against Barnes by labeling him as "the most radical left candidate."
Democrats view the Wisconsin race as a top pickup opportunity. And with the primary field now effectively cleared for Barnes, Democrats can turn their attention to the general election — a necessary move given that Johnson, who is not opposed in the primary, has had the opportunity to bulk up his campaign account.