Hedge fund heir Alex Lasry is dropping out of the Wisconsin Democratic Senate primary, a surprise move that is likely to hand the party's nomination to far-left Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes.
Lasry, who as of late June was tied with Barnes in public polling, is expected to formally announce his withdrawal as soon as Wednesday afternoon, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported.
"Mandela won this race," Lasry told the Journal Sentinel.
His abrupt exit will leave Barnes as the clear frontrunner for the nomination to take on incumbent Republican senator Ron Johnson. The Democratic primary now includes just one other candidate, Wisconsin treasurer Sarah Godlewski, who has been polling in the single digits. Tom Nelson, a long-shot candidate, earlier this week dropped out and endorsed Barnes.
While public polling has shown a tight race between Lasry and Barnes, an internal poll released last week by the Barnes campaign found Barnes had opened up a 14-point lead heading into the Aug. 9 primary, according to the Journal Sentinel.
Lasry's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Lasry, the son of hedge fund billionaire and Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry, has pumped over $12 million into his campaign. The 35-year-old is a vice president at his father's NBA franchise.
Lasry's decision means he will not be required to disclose his personal finances after putting it off for months. Although the records were due in May, he filed an extension that allowed him to delay filing a public financial report until after the Democratic primary in August.
A previous financial report showed that Lasry held at least $100,000 in stocks in controversial Chinese military-linked tech companies Tencent and Alibaba, despite running on a promise to take a tough stance against China. His campaign told the Washington Free Beacon that Lasry sold off the stocks in 2021, but declined to say if he also unloaded his investments in several companies that have been accused of benefiting from Chinese slave labor.
Lasry had several missteps during the race. He faced a barrage of anger from Bucks fans this week after the team stadium reportedly severed ties with hometown Miller Beer and signed an exclusive deal with despised Missouri beer Budweiser. And fans complained that the Bucks dramatically hiked season ticket prices even as Lasry blamed inflation on "corporate greed."
He also ran ads slamming Johnson for participating in a congressional delegation trip to Russia—despite visiting Russia himself in 2012 and posing for a widely mocked photo while sitting on a throne in an imperial palace.
While Barnes is likely to secure the nomination on Aug. 9, he has struggled to distance himself from his far-left, soft-on-crime policy positions and connections to the "defund the police" movement. The primary winner will face off against Johnson in one of the most competitive Senate races of the midterm elections.