Ron Johnson defeats Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin Senate race, NBC News projects


GOP Sen. Ron Johnson has won re-election to a third term in Wisconsin, NBC News projects, narrowly beating Democrat Mandela Barnes.

“The votes are in,” Johnson said in an email statement released before NBC News and other news outlets made the call. Mathematically, there is no way for Lt. gov. Barnes to overcome his 27,374 vote deficit. This match is over.”

Democrats were initially hopeful they could oust Johnson, who has been increasingly dominated by headlines about his statements on issues like abortion, his continuation of questionable and unproven Covid treatments, and his ties to the January 6 riots and fake voter plot to to help throw the 2020 election to then-President Donald Trump.

But a successful rebrand, as well as relentless attacks on Barnes on crime and criminal justice issues, seemed to help Johnson’s position among voters.

Barnes made an early bet to run as a progressive and didn’t move to the center for the most part. His campaign focused heavily on promises to protect abortion rights and Social Security benefits.

In recent weeks, Johnson has focused on crime in particular, unleashing a barrage of negative ads highlighting rising crime rates and broadcasting things Barnes had said about criminal justice reform. Some ads focused on positions Barnes had taken or statements he had made — such as his support for ending bail and saying that “reducing prison populations is sexy now” — while others made misleading claims about his tenure as lieutenant governor. of the state, such as accusing “his government” of having paroled hundreds of violent offenders.

Johnson had built a small lead in most polls over Barnes – albeit within the margin of error – after starting his relentless focus on crime, and his win suggests the strategy was a success.

Barnes focused on much of his closing message, hammering Johnson over his… opposition to abortion rights an issue that Democrats across the country had hoped would bolster their bases in the midterm elections following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade in June. That ruling meant Wisconsin’s near-total 1849 abortion ban went into effect in the summer.

Johnson has said he supports an abortion ban that includes exceptions for rape, incest and maternal life, but has not called on lawmakers to change the state law of 1849. As a senator, Johnson co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, which enshrines in the constitution a “right to life or the right to life of every human person born and unborn” and allows equal protection at “the moment of conception.” During the campaign, however, he also said he would support a recently proposed proposal to create a “single-issue referendum” that would allow Wisconsin voters to decide the future of abortion rights in the state. (Last month, the Republican-controlled state legislature blocked initial attempts to get that question on the ballot.)

Barnes had also tried to undermine Johnson’s claims of supporting law enforcement by repeatedly pointing out that he downplayed the Jan. 6 riot, in which police were overrun and in some cases brutally beaten by a pro-Trump mob.

Corky Siemaszko contributed.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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