Democratic candidate Alex Lasry ends his candidacy for the US Senate in Wisconsin

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The decision is a surprising move from a candidate who polls showed was competing with Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in the Democratic primary, which Lasry endorsed.

But a Democratic official familiar with the decision told CNN that Lasry began contacting a handful of select Democratic officials on Wednesday morning to inform them of his intention to quit the race, after a series of disappointing internal polls suggested that the race was out of reach. in the last two weeks of the campaign.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported Lasry’s decision.

“Clearly the best person to be able to defeat Ron Johnson is Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes and I’m proud to be able to stand here and support him,” Lasry said.

In a statement Wednesday, Barnes said, “I am so grateful to Alex for all the work he has done to move Wisconsin forward, and I am proud to have his endorsement. I deeply admire the commitment of Alex to creating good union jobs and raising wages throughout his career and throughout this campaign, and the work he has done to bring pride and opportunity to Milwaukee, a city we all love of them.”

The move makes Barnes the frontrunner in the Democratic race to face Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in November. Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, another candidate running to face Johnson, ended his campaign this week and endorsed Barnes.

State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski remains in the running, but summer polls found her in single digits, behind Barnes and Lasry. A spokesperson for Godlewski did not respond to a request for comment.

Despite Lasry’s personal investment of over $12 million in the campaign, he and his advisers believed Barnes was commanding the race, considering Godlewski was not publicizing and had lost some of his support to Barnes.

“It was implausible to catch up,” said a senior Wisconsin Democrat, speaking on condition of anonymity to give Lasry time to make his announcement. “He wants to be a good team player.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

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