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State treasurer Sarah Godlewski announces run for U.S. Senate
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ELECTION 2022

State treasurer Sarah Godlewski announces run for U.S. Senate

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State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski announced a widely expected bid for U.S. Senate on Wednesday, adding to the growing ranks of Democrats seeking to take the place of Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, who is up for re-election in 2022.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, hasn’t announced whether he will seek a third term.

Godlewski, a relative political newcomer from Eau Claire who was elected state treasurer in 2018, made her campaign official with an online ad contrasting herself with Johnson, who was first elected in 2010 during the tea party wave.

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“I’m running for Senate because Wisconsinites deserve a senator who’s laser-focused on getting things done on the kitchen table issues facing working families,” Godlewski said in a statement. “Ron Johnson has completely lost touch with Wisconsin and reality, spreading conspiracy theories, denying climate change, and obstructing economic relief. It’s time to take a different path in Washington.”

A Johnson spokesperson declined to comment.

Godlewski touted her background as a small business owner and vowed that, if elected, she’d take on issues such as child care, prescription drug costs, racial equity, climate change and jobs.

“I’m not going to let anything get in the way of Wisconsin’s success,” she said.

Godlewski rose to prominence in 2018 after winning her campaign for state treasurer. Before that, she led the effort to save the office from a constitutional amendment that would have eliminated it entirely after decades of whittling down the office’s responsibilities by both political parties.

The only constitutional duty remaining for the treasurer is serving on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, which manages a $1.1 billion endowment that provided about $36 million to school libraries in 2018.

Despite very few powers being left to the state treasurer’s office, Godlewski during her tenure has worked to increase both the influence and visibility of the office, efforts she is touting in her bid for U.S. Senate. For example, she has helped lead task forces on retirement security and student loan debt and has worked with local treasurers across the state.

Still, her office is largely regarded as ceremonial.

Other Democrats running for Johnson’s seat are Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry and Marshfield radiologist Gillian Battino. U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, is also considering a run.

Godlewski and her husband, Max Duckworth, co-founded MaSa Partners in 2015, a small business incubator that invests in renewable energy projects, startups and women-owned businesses.

Republicans knocked her entrance into the race.

“Shady Sarah Godlewski has spent most of the last 20 years running away from Wisconsin, embellishing her accomplishments, lying about her resume and failing to deliver anything of substance,” said Wisconsin Republican Party spokeswoman Anna Kelly. “Wisconsinites deserve a Senator who wants to serve Wisconsin — not herself.”

Kelly was referring to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article that highlighted that Godlewski doesn’t have a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government despite several publications, including newspapers and a wedding announcement, claiming she does.

Godlewski told the Journal Sentinel she has never told anyone she has a master’s degree from any university and that all the websites and publications claiming she does are in error. She said she never saw the misstatement and thus didn’t ask for a correction.

In a 2018 Wisconsin State Journal candidate questionnaire, Godlewski said she attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Executive Program for Public Administration, but didn’t say she had a master’s degree.

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