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By Robert Chappell

This story also appeared in Madison365

Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes plans to make a “big announcement” at noon Tuesday in Milwaukee, according to an invitation sent to supporters, fueling further speculation about a 2022 run for US Senate.

Barnes, 34, was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly in 2013 and served until 2017. In 2018 was elected as the first Black lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, and only the second elected to statewide office.

He took on a national profile last year, becoming a strong advocate for police reform and racial justice in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. He has also headed up the governor’s task force on climate change.

Pundits have speculated for more than a year that Barnes could run for Senate in 2022 against incumbent Ron Johnson. Johnson has not said whether he intends to seek a third term. So far, seven Democrats have launched campaigns in the primary election, including State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, and Milwaukee Bucks Vice President Alex Lasry.

The parties will choose their nominees in primary elections in August ahead of the November 8, 2022 election.

Wisconsin has never been represented by a Black US Senator.