Ron Johnson wins Wisconsin U.S. Senate race, Mandela Barnes concedes

NBC News and The Associated Press have called the race in Johnson's favor.
johnson barnes
Posted at 9:42 AM, Nov 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-09 18:26:44-05

Mandela Barnes has conceded in Wisconsin's U.S. Senate race, leaving incumbent Ron Johnson the winner in the crucial election.

"I fought the good fight, I've run my race, I've kept the faith," Barnes said during his concession speech at the Sherman Phoenix in Milwaukee.

"I know this movement has meant so much to all of us. But just because we didn’t get across the finish line that doesn’t mean that it’s over," Barnes said.

mandela barnes
Mandela Barnes during his concession speech.

Republican Johnson clinched 51 percent of the vote, compared to Democrat Barnes' 49 percent, according to TMJ4's election results page. The difference between the candidates is about 27,000 votes.

Johnson, the ally of former President Donald Trump, declared victory in the race earlier Wednesday. Johnson pledged in 2016 to serve only two terms in the U.S. Senate. But the lawmaker changed course and threw himself into the race, as Democrats made leads in state races and a void in GOP leadership emerged with the election loss of former President Trump in 2020.

NBC News and The Associated Press have called the race in Johnson's favor.

Johnson said in a statement Wednesday that "the corporate media is refusing to call a race that is over."

"The corporate media is refusing to call a race that is over.

The votes are in. In all Democrat strongholds, municipalities are reporting 100% of wards are in and counted. There are some counties that have anywhere from 3-10% of the votes outstanding. These localities represent areas where we are winning by over 60%.

There is no path mathematically for Lt. Gov. Barnes to overcome his 27,374 vote deficit. This race is over.

Truth has prevailed over lies and the politics of personal destruction. I want to thank my family and everyone who supported me and worked so hard to save this U.S. Senate seat. I will do everything I can to help make things better for Wisconsinites and to heal and unify our country."

Polls ahead of the election pointed to an increasing lead for Johnson. Johnson was part of the tea party movement and beat Sen. Russ Feingold for the U.S. Senate seat back in 2010. Johnson became one of former President Donald Trump's vocal supporters in the Senate. But while Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 and lost it in 2020, Johnson won it both times - though he won them by fewer than 5 points.

Mandela Barnes aimed to portray Johnson as out of touch. Barnes' campaign alleged provisions Johnson added to the 2017 tax bill gave millions in tax savings to the country's rich. Like fellow Democrat and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Barnes tried to make the midterm election a referendum on abortion, after the Supreme Court nixed Roe V. Wade earlier this year. Johnson tried to fight back against the claim by saying he supported a state referendum to let voters decide. But Johnson opposed an effort by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to hold that referendum.


Ron Johnson was first elected to the U.S. Senate to represent Wisconsin in 2011 after beating Sen. Russ Feingold. He beat Feingold again and won re-election in 2016. Johnson is currently a member of committees Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Commerce, Science and Transportation; Budget; and Foreign Relations. Johnson was born in Minnesota and grew up near the Twin Cities. He worked as CEO at his brother-in-law's plastic and polyester company in Oshkosh before deciding to run for Wisconsin's U.S. Senate seat.
Mandela Barnes was elected Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor in 2019 with Gov. Tony Evers. Barnes entered politics in 2013 when he was elected to represent Milwaukee's District 11 in the Wisconsin State Assembly. He decided to not seek re-election in 2017 and instead joined the race for Wisconsin's 4th State Senate district. Barnes lost the race to Lena Taylor but in 2018 joined the race for Lieutenant Governor in Wisconsin. Barnes was born and raised in Milwaukee and later worked in social justice groups, Democratic reelection campaigns and the Milwaukee mayor's office, under former Mayor Tom Barrett.

Editor's note: Ron Johnson is no longer chairman of a Senate committee. He is the former chair of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

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