FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WFRV)- With control of the U.S. Senate potentially at stake, the race between Ron Johnson and Mandela Barnes is being watched closely by people all over the country. 

The candidates were in full campaign mode on Saturday.

Republican incumbent Ron Johnson visited the grand opening of the new office space for the Republican Party of Fond du Lac County.

Johnson is running for his third term as U.S. senator after first getting elected to the position in 2010.

“Driving around Wisconsin people come up to me [with] literally tears in their eyes or streaming down their eyes talking about we got to save this country, it’s why we decided to run again,” said Johnson.

One of the major themes of Johnson’s message Saturday in Fond du Lac was the need for Americans to take back their freedom. He also talked about election integrity, border security, and the Democrat’s most recent spending bill called the Inflation Reduction Act.

“[The Inflation Reduction Act is] an Orwellian name, it’s not going to reduce inflation,” said Johnson. “It’s going to increase taxes on business and a tax to a business is a cost and they pass costs down to consumers. Or they don’t have the money to raise wages and benefits so it’s going to harm the middle class.”

The Inflation Reduction Act contains a slew of top Democrat priorities.

  • Medicare can negotiate the prices of certain prescription drugs and Medicare recipients will have a $2,000 cap on annual out-of-pocket prescription drug costs beginning in 2025.
  • Affordable Care Act subsidies for medical insurance premiums will be extended through 2025.
  • Corporations will face an annual tax rate of 15 percent.
  • $375 billion for climate change priorities including money to encourage consumers and businesses to shift to clean energy.
  • $300 billion would be paid toward the federal government’s budget deficit.
  • An $80 million dollar investment into the IRS over the next 10 years.

A recent Associated Press article suggests that in the short term, the Inflation Reduction Act will have little impact on inflation. A study from the University of Pennsylvania and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reached the same conclusion.

The Associated Press article did conclude the Inflation Reduction Act will save Americans money on things like drug and energy costs.

Johnson voted against the Inflation Reduction Act and also against a provision that would have put a cap of $35-per-month on insulin costs under private insurances.

Barnes took to Twitter to criticize Johnson saying “Ron Johnson just blocked a bill to cap insulin costs at $35 a month, no one should have to choose between a medication their life depends on and putting food on the table. But Ron Johnson doesn’t care—he’s bought and paid for by the pharma lobby.”

Johnson tweeting “Lying Dems and their friends in corporate media are at it again, distorting a Democrat ‘gotcha’ vote. In reality, the Dems wanted to break Senate rules to pass insulin pricing cap instead of going through regular order.” 

Democrats were trying to get the insulin cap into the Inflation Reduction Act which was getting passed through the budget reconciliation process which requires only a simple majority vote to pass. Johnson’s point is that an insulin cap doesn’t qualify as something that can pass through reconciliation which are things that directly impact the budget.

Barnes was also on the campaign trail on Saturday making stops in the Madison and Milwaukee areas.

He talked about issues like voting rights, creating union jobs, and reducing inflation. He also took a few jabs at Johnson.

“This [Ron Johnson] is a person who says a lot of crazy things as we know, the fact is what he’s doing in Washington is no joke, he wants to further the division,” said Barnes.

Both candidates have tried to portray the other as ‘too extreme’ and ‘out of touch with the average American.’

Johnson is a multi-millionaire and has doubled his wealth while in office and Democrats have used this to frame him as out of touch with the average Wisconsinite. Johnson refuted this point, saying when he was in the private sector he worked all kinds of jobs to get to the point he is at today.

“I know what it’s like to work and to work hard,” said Johnson. “Work in factories and work shift work. I know how crushing all the democratic policies are in Wisconsin. Forty-year high inflation and record gas prices.”

A recent video he posted to his official Facebook page illustrates his point.

Barnes frequently points out that his parents were union workers and that he had a middle-class upbringing. Johnson has attacked him for policies he says categorizes Barnes as a far-left politician.

If he wins, Barnes would become the first African-American U.S. senator from the state of Wisconsin.

“Republicans have done nothing to help people in this room today, people like us, they turn our backs on all of us every step of the way and that’s why we are replacing Ron Johnson,” said Barnes.

“I just can’t believe this onslaught of this radical ideology that is being foisted on us that is being forced on us,” said Johnson.