Ron Johnson Ousts Russ Feingold In Wisconsin Senate Race
NBC News and CNN have projected Johnson the winner.
Election officials predicted a near record voter turnout today of 50 percent, based on requests for absentee ballots.
However, the election did not go off without a hitch; there were reports out of Verona, WI of unreadable ballots. As a result, all of the town’s ballots will be counted by hand.
More reports of ballot problems were brought up in Brookfield, Wisconsin earlier today, where ballots in Wards 15 and 16 had been mixed up, affecting 40 votes and 20 ballots. There were also reports of misprinted ballots in Racine, which has since then been rectified. In Thiensville, officials have requested for 300 more ballots to be printed each for Wards 1, 2, 3 and 4.
The results are not expected to impact the Senate race
Johnson was one of the lesser-known candidates coming out of the Tea Party movement—the low profile candidate didn’t command nearly the same level of attention like his contemporaries Sharon Angle of Nevada, Christine O’Donnell of Delaware and Rand Paul of Kentucky did--Johnson is a businessman who runs a manufacturing firm in Oshkosh.
Yet, despite his minimal profile on the national stage, Johnson’s outsider status in an anti-incumbent election year made tremendous inroads with the voters of Wisconsin. In part, this is because he was able to tap into the frustration and anger that many Americans feel towards the government.
“This is not limited to just Tea Party people, Republicans. It’s Democrats, a lot of people who had voted for President Obama and voted for Senator Feingold in the past. People simply understand this level of spending and debt is unsustainable. It’s just such a loud and clear message. The priority, then, in terms of what we need to do is just so crystal clear,” Johnson told the National Review Online.
Like other Tea Party candidates, Johnson’s priorities include repealing the landmark Health Care Bill passed by Democrats earlier this year. With a Republican takeover of the House almost assured at this point, the GOP will mos likely make this issue a priority after the new members are sworn into Congress next January. Sen. Feingold, it should be noted, voted for the bill.
Feingold’s defeat is a particularly big blow to the Democrats; the party is already reeling from several other high-profile defeats in this midterm election.
The progressive Democrat was elected to the Senate in 1992. He is perhaps best known for his pivotal role in enacting new campaign finance reform restrictions as part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, more commonly known as the McCain-Feingold Act.
Feingold was also known for an Independent streak that included sticking to his own convictions and going against his own Party on some high-profile votes: he was the lone Senator back in 2001 to cast his vote against the Patriot Act and later voted against the Iraq War resolution in 2002.
He also supported same-sex marriage and voted against the Defense of Marriage Act.
Feingold’s defeat is no big surprise, however, and the polls seemed to suggest it was imminent. A recent average of polls showed him losing the election to Johnson by nearly eight points.