Sen. Ron Johnson blasted his Democratic opponent Mandela Barnes for a long wait to concede the race clear when it was clearly breaking for the incumbent.
Mr. Johnson and his allies declared victory when he led by more than 27,000 votes in the closely watched Senate race in Wisconsin.
In a press release, the Republican posed a “question of the day” for Mr. Barnes that mirrored Democratic talking points warning GOP candidates would not accept election results.
“In 2020, Joe Biden claimed victory in Wisconsin with a 20,000-vote margin. Will you accept defeat trailing by 27,000 votes?” his campaign said.
He later reiterated his stance that the race was over long before it was called. Mr. Johnson blamed the news media for the slow call.
“The corporate media is refusing to call a race that is over,” he said. “There is no path mathematically for Lt. Gov. Barnes to overcome his 27,374 vote deficit. This race is over.”
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Mr. Johnson held onto his seat in Wisconsin, defeating Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and winning a third term in a race that was considered a toss-up.
Several news outlets on Wednesday projected him as the winner 51% to 49% with about 95% of the votes counted.
The Wisconsin Senate seat is one of several swing state races critical in determining control of the Senate. Mr. Johnson stopped Democrats from flipping another seat after John Fetterman captured an open Senate seat in Pennsylvania after the GOP’s Sen. Pat Toomey retired.
Senate Republicans now needed to pick up at least two seats held by Democrats in order to reclaim the majority they lost in 2021. The races that will determine control of the Senate are still too close to call in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada.
Mr. Johnson, 67, who ran a plastics manufacturing plant in Oshkosh, initially wavered about seeking another term. He said he decided to run after voters urged him to stay in the Senate, where he has worked to lower taxes, reduce regulations and federal spending, and promote jobs and economic growth.
Mr. Johnson also led his party’s effort to investigate the foreign business dealings of Mr. Biden’s son Hunter Biden.
He sought to define Mr. Barnes, 35, as a far-left Democrat who would join the liberal “Squad” of congressional lawmakers who have called for defunding the police, opening the borders and rampant government spending.
Mr. Barnes attacked Mr. Johnson as “out of touch with Wisconsin” and accused him of failing to fight for an Oshkosh company to keep 1,000 manufacturing jobs in the state instead of moving them to South Carolina.
Democrats also attempted to tie Mr. Johnson to efforts by the Trump administration to contest certification of the 2020 election, accusing him of pushing “fake electors” on Vice President Mike Pence for the January 2021 certification of the results.