Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson will be reelected, defeating Mandela Barnes in a race Democrats considered one of the best flip opportunities in midterm elections.
Johnson’s remarkable political endurance is demonstrated once again by his victory, which he won despite polls showing him as one of the least popular senators in the race for reelection.
Johnson’s victory over Barnes, whom Democrats had seen at the beginning of this year’s election cycle in the context of rising star potential, has also helped the GOP to win control of the Senate.
Barnes accepted and thanked his supporters on Wednesday.
“We didn’t make it to the finish line this year. He said that he was certain that the movement that has meant so many to everyone will continue.
The Republicans focused relentlessly on Barnes throughout the summer and fall.
Attacks were directed at Barnes’ state lawmaking efforts to end cash bail. Also, a 2020 interview with PBS Wisconsin was scheduled. This interview came weeks after George Floyd was killed by police in Minnesota. Barnes suggested that police budgets should be diverted to support other social services.
The GOP took control of the Darrell Brooks trial. He was found guilty in October of six counts of first-degree intentional murder. Brooks drove his SUV into Christmas parade participants in Waukesha (Wisconsin), killing six and injuring many more.
Brooks was on $1,000 cash bail at the time he committed the murders. Barnes was a leading advocate for bail reform in his capacity as a state legislator. He argued, however, that Brooks would have been kept in prison if he had not proposed his bill.
In September, Barnes’ narrow lead in public polls was eroded when Republicans spent almost $6 million more than Democrats to air-slam Barnes, primarily for his views on crime. A poll by SSRS had not found a clear leader in the race by October.
Barnes, lieutenant governor for Wisconsin, was meanwhile focusing on Johnson’s involvement in the events surrounding January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.
Johnson was involved in pushing fake electors for Donald Trump’s election before the official start of the 2020 electoral vote certification process. He has repeatedly downplayed that attack on the Capitol.
Johnson’s campaign was very limited in his calendar and did not advise reporters about any events. Johnson campaigned primarily through Fox News appearances, such as the one he made on Sean Hannity’s October program, where he stated: “My fundraising strength is weaker.” Your audience is my support.”
This comment reflected the reality of Wisconsin politics after more than a decade of bitter political campaigns. Few swing voters are remaining in Wisconsin, and both parties have mainly focused on generating their base.