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La Crosse Democrats hear from former Lt. Gov. Barnes, Wisconsin Dem Party chair Wikler at membership rally



Election Day is two weeks away in Wisconsin, when the state holds its spring primary ending April 2. 

Although there’s not much suspense to the presidential race at this point, many local offices will be on the ballot.

The La Crosse County Democratic Party put on a membership rally Monday at the Cappella Arts Center, featuring former Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who ran for U.S. Senate two years ago, and Wisconsin Democratic Party chair Ben Wikler.

Wisconsin Democratic Party chair Ben Wikler speaks at the La Crosse County Democratic Party membership drive on March 18, 2024. (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

Barnes said his focus right now is fighting for fair maps and getting out the vote.

“That’s what gets me out of bed every day,” Barnes told the audience. “That’s what keeps me fired up. People say, ‘Mandela, what are you going to do next?’ Don’t worry about what I’m doing next. I’m trying to make sure that we win some races this November in 2024 and all the elections in between.”

Barnes criticized recent comments by former Republican President Donald Trump and said he wants a president who will take the right to choose seriously.

Wikler told the audience the recent passage of new legislative maps for the state will give some power back to the voters.

“In Wisconsin, we’ve had foreknowledge, we’ve known exactly who would be in control of our state legislature every single election, since the Republicans rigged the maps in 2011,” Wikler said. “This year, for the first time really in a generation, it’ll depend on what the voters do.”

Monday’s La Crosse rally also attracted area legislators, and Democratic candidates running to challenge 3rd District US House Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Prairie du Chien).

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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  1. John Q Public

    March 19, 2024 at 5:24 am

    I see the usually democrat lie fest was in full swing..rig maps my back end, he should talk about the democrat rugged elections and why they do it. HYPOCRISY IS A DEMOCRAT VALUE.

  2. R head

    March 19, 2024 at 8:03 am

    I heard there was bus loads of people went, but they w all short buses!!!!!

  3. Bob N.

    March 19, 2024 at 8:57 am

    “Rigged” is the new Democrat buzzword. They think it worked so well for Judge Janet in her Supreme Court race, the memo went out from Democrat headquarters for all liberals to mouth it constantly. Tara Johnson used it in her candidacy announcement. They believe it will appeal to the “deplorables” whom they loathe so much.

    Nice that private citizen-failed candidate Mandela got all dressed up with his T-shirt hanging out for the function.

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