Democratic State Sen. Lena Taylor running for lieutenant governor

October 7, 2021

A Democratic state senator from Milwaukee announced Monday, October 4, 2021, she is a candidate for Wisconsin lieutenant governor.

Sen. Lena Taylor made her announcement on the steps of the state Capitol in Madison.

She would be the state’s first Black female lieutenant governor.

Incumbent Mandela Barnes, the state’s first Black lieutenant governor, has decided to give up the post to run for U.S. Senate.

“Of course my first call was to the governor in order to share with him that I would be running,” Taylor said. “I don’t believe the governor will necessarily endorse an individual. And I’m just going to say very candidly – I’m here to get the support of Wisconsinites across the state.”

Three Republicans are vying for the position, including State Sen. Patrick Testin; Lancaster Mayor David Varnam; and Ben Voelkel, a former aide to Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.

They’ll face off in an Aug. 9, 2022 primary.

“We welcome Sen. Taylor to the race, and while they have vastly different political positions, Sen. Testin considers her a friend,” Chris Olmstead a spokesperson for the Testin campaign said in a statement. “The next year will allow the opportunity to lay out competing visions on how to best move Wisconsin forward, and a continuation of the catastrophic policies of this Evers Administration won’t cut it for Badger State voters.”

The winner will be paired with whoever emerges from the GOP gubernatorial primary to form the ticket that will take on Gov. Tony Evers in November 2022.

No other Democrats besides Taylor have announced plans to run.

She earned a law degree from Southern Illinois University- Carbondale.

Taylor won election to the state Assembly in 2003 and to the Senate in 2004.

She unsuccessfully challenged Tom Barrett for Milwaukee mayor in 2020.

Taylor made headlines in 2018 when she used a racial slur with a Milwaukee bank teller who wouldn’t give her information about one of her tenant’s accounts.