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A long leap from a sports team owner to a US Senator

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Milwaukee — When Alex Lasry withdrew from the Wisconsin Senate Democratic primary on Wednesday, he said, “there was no way to victory.” This is something that sports franchise owners never want to admit. He concluded that Deputy Governor Mandela Barnes could not be defeated and urged voters to gather behind Burns in November to defeat the incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson.

35-year-old Rasley is the son of the Milwaukee Bucks billionaire owner and owns his own, worth more than $ 50 million. He featured the team, the 2021 NBA Champion, by recreating his work as a Bucks executive to help build the Fiserv Forum and provide higher wages to union workers. I made it. He frequently wore Bucks quarter zippers, vests and other gear. He was criticized for traveling the state with the NBA trophy and using it as a prop for the campaign.

There are many former athletes and coaches who have jumped from the stadium or sidelines to Capitol Hill. Bill Bradley, JC Watts, Tom Osborne, and more recently Tommita Bellville.

However, it is not very common for owners of sports franchises with less familiar faces to inspire the same level of election fandom.

Some owners struggle to keep the sport away from conversation. Matt Dolan, whose family owns the Cleveland Guardians, was named after former President Donald J. Trump and the Indians Trump ridiculed when a major Republican campaign in the Ohio Senate failed. He was accused of the team’s decision to change. Political correct.

And in Georgia, Kelly Loeffler attacked the Black Lives Matter movement, infuriating the Atlanta Dream, a member of the WNBA team she owned at the time, and campaigning against her. She lost her Senate seat to Raphael Warnock. Raphael Warnock’s 2022 opponent is Herschel Walker, a former NFL running back.

The former owner of Bucks, Senator Herb Cole of Wisconsin, was a rare team owner who arrived in Washington. But he was the amount already known through his family’s grocery stores and department stores, and as the chairman of the state’s Democratic Party.

Chris Larson, a Democrat in Milwaukee County who left the Primary in August last year and supported Burns, said: “Rasley and his family were just going in and trying to buy it.”

Alex Lasry grew up in Manhattan as the son of hedge fund manager and Democratic fundraiser Marc Lasry. Alex Rasley, a starpoint guard on a high school team who continues to pick up basketball on a regular basis, was in 2014 after his father was part of a group that bought Bucks from Cole for $ 550 million that year. I moved to Milwaukee.

When he began running for the Senate in February 2021, Alex Rasley had to overcome the skepticism that his resume was light on achievements and heavy on nepotism. By late June, he had clearly jumped to second place in the crowded area of ​​long-standing politicians, according to a survey by the Marquette Law School. He also lined up an impressive list of supporters, including Mayor of Milwaukee Cavalier Johnson, and Labor Party leaders who praised him for being a strong community.

Although Rasley initially said he would rely on grassroots support, he funded most of the campaign on his own and poured $ 12.3 million. In the second quarter of 2022, his campaign spent $ 6.7 million. This is more than the combined amount of democratic rivals.

He also played sports like Jerry Reinsdorf and Michael Reinsdorf of the Chicago Bulls, who were beaten by Bucks in this year’s playoffs, and Boston Celtics owners Stephen Pagliuka and David Bonderman. I had some notable donors from. Bounced Bucks off the playoffs. Another contributor was NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Bucks coach Jason Kidd when Rasley arrives at Milwaukee. Well-known sports agent, Casey Close. Rachel Nichols, former ESPN broadcaster.

In the Senate Disclosure Form filed in August 2021, Rasley listed assets of $ 100 million to $ 273 million. One investment was his partnership with his family holding company, Sazes Partners.

Lasry reported through Sazes that it owns $ 5 to $ 25 million in private equity fund Sessa Capital. John Petry, founder of Sessa Capital, participated in a charity poker tournament with Marc Lasry to benefit Education Reform Now, a non-profit advocacy organization.

The relationship between the Rasleys and Sazes wasn’t announced before he stopped the race, but if so, they could have caused a fuss. Sessa is the fourth largest shareholder of PFAS maker The Chemours, is associated with cancer and is often referred to as an “eternal chemical” because it does not break down in water. The Chemours is one of the companies sued for environmental pollution last week by Governor Tony Evers of Wisconsin and Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Campaign spokeswoman Christina Freundrich was asked last week about Rasley’s substantive family interests in Chemours’ major shareholders, and Rasley praised Evers and Cowl’s efforts, saying, “Responsible for all pollutants.” “I will blame you,” he said, calling on Congress to establish PFAS regulations.

no matter. By Wednesday it was game over. At a press conference in front of the Fiserv Forum, Burns praised Rasley’s campaign and said he had left without creating new enemies.

This is a remarkable achievement for politicians and sports owners.

Kitty Bennett Contributed to the research.