Another law enforcement endorsement removed on Mandela Barnes campaign website
MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Another law enforcement endorsement Mandela Barnes' campaign claimed to secure last week has been withdrawn from the campaign website.
Racine County Deputy Sheriff Malik Frazier is no longer included on a coalition of Wisconsin law enforcement officers' endorsements. Frazier was one of two active duty officers originally listed in a campaign press release Thursday.
A spokesman for the Racine County Sheriff's Office tells CBS 58 while Frazier personally supports Barnes in the U.S. Senate race, he was not aware his name and title would be used on an endorsement list.
"[Frazier] was unaware they were going to use his title and he is not professionally endorsing Mandela Barnes," said Lt. Michael Luell, a spokesman for the sheriff's department. “Frazier's position is that it was a mistake by the Barnes campaign to list his name along with his employment as a deputy sheriff."
The Barnes campaign said in a statement they removed Frazier's name "out of an abundance of caution."
"Because he is a non-elected active duty officer, when we announced our expanded list, we removed him out of an abundance of caution," said Maddy McDaniel, a spokeswoman for the Barnes campaign.
It comes just a day after La Crosse County Sheriff Captain John Siegel, who's running as a Democrat for sheriff, told multiple media outlets he never agreed to endorse Barnes for his U.S. Senate bid. Wisconsin Right Now was first to report on the development.
Last week, the campaign sent out a press release claiming Barnes secured nine law enforcement endorsements from across the state. On Friday, Capt. John Siegel said he noticed his name on the list and immediately tried to contact the Barnes campaign to remove it.
"I had no idea on Friday my name had been up on a press release," Siegel said in a phone interview. "Finally got a hold of somebody operating their campaign and said, 'Hey, I didn't ever agree to put my name on anything or be added to a list."
Barnes' campaign then released a statement calling the mistake a "clerical error" and was later corrected on the campaign website Saturday.
McDaniel said Siegel and Frazier were both removed on the same day when the campaign website was updated on Saturday. That same day, the campaign announced eight additional law enforcement endorsements.
Barnes is locked in a tight race with Republican Senator Ron Johnson, according to statewide polling. Johnson's senior campaign advisor Ben Voelkel called the endorsement changes "shocking."
"It's pretty scandalous that Mandela Barnes can't come straight with the people of Wisconsin with who's even supporting his campaign," Voelkel said. "We have him lying in the act of who supports his campaign. It really raises a lot of questions whether voters can trust Mandela Barnes at all."
Johnson's campaign said they plan to release their endorsements from law enforcement officials soon.