Senator Ron Johnson successfully won re-election – ending a close race against Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes.
“Six and half years ago, a door was open to me – gave me the opportunity to serve the folks of Wisconsin as a United State senator,” said Johnson during his victory speech delivered on the morning of Nov. 9. “My message has been pretty consistent. I believe America has given us an opportunity to put this nation on the right path.”
He also said this would be his final term in the Senate and promised to focus on “the areas of agreement.”
“We all want a safe, prosperous, secure Wisconsin — America,” said the senator. “There is no one political party that has a monopoly on compassion.”
Each candidate had strong partisan support and the race went undeclared on Election Night
Prior to being elected Lieutenant Governor in 2019, Barnes was a state assembly member from 2013 to 2017.
Barnes promised to expand voting rights, to vote for term limits for Supreme Court justices, and to end the Senate filibuster. He has also advocated for a Green New Deal that works “for Wisconsin” and has been an advocate for ending cash bails.
A number of Democratic leaders have endorsed Barnes in his bid for Senate, including New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Wisconsin Respreseantive Gwen Moore.
Barnes distanced himself from groups that advocate for defunding the police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement after a photo circulated of the official wearing an “Abolish ICE” t-shirt that was made by the Democratic Socialists of America.
The Democrat reiterated his pro-abortion position while campaigning. Barnes has promised to support a federal effort to codify Roe v. Wade to restore abortion protections.
Incumbent Senator Ron Johnson has steadily led the polls since the summer, with major gains among Independents in September. The Republican senator was first elected in 2010.
President Donald Trump endorsed Johnson more than a year before Election Day – and before the senator announced his plans to seek reelection. Trump said Johnson has “the kind of courage we need in the U.S. Senate.”
“Even though he has not yet announced that he is running, and I certainly hope he does, I am giving my Complete and Total Endorsement to Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin,” Trump said in his April 8, 2021 statement. “He is brave, he is bold, he loves our Country, our Military, and our Vets. He will protect our Second Amendment, and everything else we stand for… He has no idea how popular he is. Run, Ron, Run!”
Trump was the first Republican to win Wisconsin since President Ronald Regan’s reelection bid in 1984. President Joe Biden won Wisconsin by less than 21,000 votes in 2020.
Johnson’s strong opposition to strict regulation enacted after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was viewed favorably by his supporters. The senator opposed school closures and business restrictions that majorly degraded the economy.
“I don’t see how anybody could take a look at our response to COVID and conclude there is anything but a miserable failure. Over one million Americans dead, the human toll, the economic devastation, what we did to our children,” he told Fox News in September. “Our response, driven by people like Fauci and our federal health agencies, have not been honest, they are not transparent. They miserably failed in protecting Americans and they’ve done great harm to our children.”
Going into Election Day, Johnson led Barnes by six points.
Wisconsin Republicans also won six of eight possible seats in the House of Representatives.