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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

It’s a Long Leap From Sports Team Owner to U.S. Senator

MILWAUKEE — When Alex Lasry dropped out of the Democratic primary for Senate in Wisconsin on Wednesday, he said “there was no path to victory,” something no owner of a sports franchise ever wants to admit. He said he had concluded he could not beat Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and urged voters to rally behind Barnes to defeat the Republican incumbent, Senator Ron Johnson, in November.

Lasry, 35, is a son of a billionaire owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, and has an ownership stake of his own valued at more than $50 million. He made the team, the 2021 N.B.A. champion, the centerpiece of his campaign by playing up the work he had done as a Bucks executive to help build Fiserv Forum and deliver higher wages to union workers. He frequently donned Bucks quarter zips, vests and other gear. He even traveled around the state with the N.B.A. trophy, drawing criticism for using it as a campaign prop.

There are plenty of former athletes and coaches who have made the jump from the playing field or the sideline to Capitol Hill: Bill Bradley, J.C. Watts, Tom Osborne and, more recently, Tommy Tuberville.

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