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2022 Wisconsin Senate race: Ron Johnson projected winner over Mandela Barnes

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Breaking down the 2022 midterm results 02:37

In Wisconsin's Senate race between Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, CBS News is projecting Johnson the winner. 

Johnson got a boost from voters' concerns about crime and economic issues, while Barnes had strong support from voters who saw abortion as one of the top issues. 

According to exit polls, nearly equal shares of voters in Wisconsin mentioned honesty and integrity as the most important candidate quality (36%) as sharing values with voters (35%). Among those citing integrity as most important, Barnes won 54% of the vote, while among those saying a candidate who shares values with them is most important, 60% voted for Johnson.

The Republican incumbent had a slight lead in the closing weeks of the campaign, with a CBS News poll from October showing him with a one-point lead over Barnes, though other polls showed Johnson with a larger lead. 

Eran Ben-Porath contributed to this report.


The race

Voters head to the polls in Wisconsin 01:37

A CBS News poll in October found that Johnson's views on the 2020 election may be alienating some independents and Republicans who believe Johnson wanted the election overturned. But Johnson got a majority of support from voters who thought COVID-19 restrictions in the state were too strict. 

Johnson won his first Senate race in 2010, unseating Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold. This year, Johnson is the only incumbent Republican senator running for reelection in a state President Biden won in 2020. 

Barnes became Wisconsin's first Black lieutenant governor in 2018 and he would become the state's first Black U.S. senator if he defeats Johnson. Barnes has cited former President Barack Obama as his inspiration for entering politics. 

President Biden had a narrow victory in the state in 2020 after former President Donald Trump won it in 2016. 

By Caitlin Yilek
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