by Benjamin Yount
For the second time in two days an active duty deputy in Wisconsin has cleared their name of endorsement for Mandela Barnes in his race for U.S. Senate.
The first was La Crosse Sheriff’s Capt. John Siegel on Monday. He said he never endorsed Barnes and doesn’t know how he ended up on Barnes endorsement list. On Tuesday, Racine County Deputy Malik Frazier, the only other active duty deputy on the list, backed out.
“I have not endorsed anybody,” Siegel told Wisconsin Right Now. “I spent most of my day Friday trying to get a hold of people asking ‘How did this happen?’.”
On Friday, Barnes’ campaign released a list of nine current and former law enforcement officers who they say are all backing Barnes.
“A coalition of Wisconsin law enforcement officers from across the state endorsed Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes for the U.S. Senate,” the release said. “Wisconsin law enforcement officers know that they can trust Mandela to support them and provide resources to ensure they can keep communities safe.”
Seven of the nine people on that list are retired, and five of those seven are either from Milwaukee or Racine.
As for Frazier, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office said Frazier personally supports Barnes, but was unaware that Barnes’ campaign was going to frame his support as a public endorsement.
Barnes’ spokeswoman Maddie McDaniel said they updated their law enforcement endorsement list on Saturday.
“Because he is a nonelected active duty officer, when we announced our expanded list, we removed him out of an abundance of caution,” she said.
The new list has 15 names on it. Only two people are still on the job. One is Troy Knudson, the out-going Democratic sheriff in Rock County. The other is Jeff Skatrud, the Democratic sheriff in Green County.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin on Tuesday said it should “be humiliating” for Barnes to have so few police officers and sheriffs supporting him.
“This election is about trust and if voters needed any more proof that Mandela Barnes can’t be trusted, look no further than this latest lie,” Republican Communications Director Chad Doran said. “Barnes has lied repeatedly about his positions on the issues, conveniently ignores facts and has demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding of the office of U.S. senator and that’s why his campaign continues to keep him out of the public eye and away from scrutiny of his preposterous ideas.”
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