Republican senator Ron Johnson secured reelection to a third term as Wisconsin senator, holding on to a seat crucial to Republican efforts to win majority control of the Senate.
Johnson received 50.5 percent of the vote, and his opponent, Democrat Mandela Barnes, received 49.3 percent of the vote with 94 percent of votes counted as of Wednesday morning.
It was also a major blow to Democrats, who have spent years—and tens of millions of dollars—attempting to oust Johnson, an outspoken conservative and former businessman who was first elected in 2010.
Although polls showed Barnes leading Johnson after the August primary, Wisconsin voters quickly soured on the Democratic candidate as his work with far-left activist groups and history of controversial statements, including his praise for anti-American dictators and criticism of capitalism, came to light.
In September, the Washington Free Beacon published a video of Barnes telling a United Nations panel that the world needed to "stymie capitalism" in order to combat climate change and adding that he opposed any "new pipeline construction" because "if the infrastructure is there, then people are going to use it."
Barnes has praised Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei for supporting Black Lives Matter and said he wanted to be the "Dennis Rodman" of the Assad regime. He claimed Americans who support "God, country, and guns" are espousing the same "dangerous" rhetoric as members of the terrorist group ISIS. He also posed for a photo with anti-Semitic pastor Jeremiah Wright and called the controversial preacher "brilliant" after attending a speech in which Wright accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" and the United States of committing "war crimes."
Barnes, who received significant campaign funding from an organization led by "Defund the Police" activists and was a member of an anti-Israel activist group, struggled to appeal to voters in a state where crime was a leading election issue.
He was slammed by law enforcement supporters for failing to stand up for police during the Kenosha riots, posing in an "Abolish ICE" T-shirt, and for partnering with anti-police groups, including the Center for Popular Democracy, which sponsored defundpolice.org.
Pete Deates, the president of the Kenosha Professional Police Association Board, told the Free Beacon that Barnes’s anti-police rhetoric "100 percent" fueled the rioters in Kenosha in 2020. "He has shown and said things that prove he does not support law enforcement," Deates told the Free Beacon.
Barnes, who sponsored legislation to end cash bail while in the state assembly, also made several appearances on the Russian state-owned news network RT, where he criticized the police alongside a prominent white nationalist.
Johnson ran on a law-and-order platform while highlighting his opponent’s support for soft-on-crime policies and alliance with the "Defund the Police" movement.
Published under: Mandela Barnes , Ron Johnson , Senate , Wisconsin