Ron Johnson wins re-election in Wisconsin Senate race
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson clinched victory against Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin’s Senate race, the Associated Press reported.
Why it matters: Johnson's victory underscores the strength of the conservative movement in the Badger State, a pivotal battleground of the midterm elections.
The big picture: Wisconsin is one of the most important states this cycle and was considered a toss-up, per the nonpartisan Cook Political Report rating. Polls showed Johnson and Barnes in a tight race in the final weeks before the election.
- Johnson, 67, was running for his third term, while Barnes, 35, was seeking his first term as senator after serving as the state’s lieutenant governor.
- Republicans, in the final weeks before the election, flooded airways and slammed Barnes, who supported ending cash bail, as being soft on crime.
State of play: Johnson was largely viewed as one of the most vulnerable senators seeking re-election in 2022. He’s been entangled in controversy and drew criticism for pushing former President Trump's false claims about the 2020 election and misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Barnes supported a number of progressive policies, including "Medicare for All" and the Green New Deal.
- He also earned endorsements from progressive figures, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
- Wisconsin Democrats coalesced around Barnes late in the state’s primary, when his three top competitors dropped out of the race.
Between the lines: Wisconsin, a true battleground state, propelled Trump to victory in 2016, while Biden eked out victory there in 2020.
Go deeper: The 11th-hour midterm shifts