MADISON, Wis. — Democrat Alex Lasry, a 33-year-old Milwaukee Bucks executive and son of a billionaire, announced Wednesday that he’s running for the U.S. Senate in 2022 for the seat currently held by Republican Ron Johnson.
Lasry made the announcement with a YouTube video, saying “we need a new way of thinking and a new perspective.” His launch video included endorsements from several prominent Milwaukee politicians, including Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley and Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson.
Lasry is a son of Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry and senior vice president of the team. Lasry plans to take a leave of absence from that position during the campaign. This is his first run for public office.
Lasry joins Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, also a Democrat, as the only two announced candidates in the race. Johnson, who has been one of former President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters, has not said yet whether he will seek a third term.
Last August, in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Bucks decided to not take the floor for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic. The Bucks’ decision prompted the NBA to postpone all three postseason games scheduled for that day.
The Bucks issued a statement in support of the players’ decision, saying in part, “The only way to bring change is to shine a light on the racial injustices that are happening in front of us. Our players have done that and we will continue to stand alongside them and demand accountability and change.”
Alex Lasry also tweeted his support at the time, saying, “Some things are bigger than basketball. The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change.”
Nelson, a former state lawmaker and candidate for Congress in 2016, said in a Twitter message that he welcomed Lasry to the race “as we all stand united to beat Ron Johnson.”
But faced with the prospect of Lasry throwing millions of his own money into the campaign, Nelson challenged him not to spend any of his family’s money on the race.
“I don’t think anyone should buy a Senate seat,” Nelson said.
Lasry told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he will “invest” in his campaign while also promising to raise small donations as well.
Other Democrats, including state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and state Sen. Chris Larson, of Milwaukee, are also considering bids.
Johnson’s spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Johnson said in multiple interviews this week that he did not consider the U.S. Capitol riot last month to be an armed insurrection.
Lasry, a New York City native, was host committee chair for the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which was awarded to Milwaukee but moved online because of the coronavirus pandemic. He was a former aide in Barack Obama’s White House.
Lasry made headlines last month when he received the COVID-19 vaccine, even though he’s not yet eligible in Wisconsin, after his wife’s uncle, who is a rabbi at a senior living center in Milwaukee, said there was one available there.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.