Russ Feingold

How Johnson Used Data to Pull Off the Upset
Wisconsin GOP senator inherited the system from Gov. Scott Walker

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson's victorious campaign relied on a superior data operation that had a better understanding of the electorate than most. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Wisconsin Senate race was an afterthought in mid-September: Polls showed Republican Sen. Ron Johnson trailing, while both parties scrambled to pour money in states they considered more competitive.

But to top officials in Johnson’s campaign, the middle of September is exactly when they became convinced they would win — thanks in part to a data operation that had a better understanding of the electorate than most.

Trump Gave Vulnerable GOP Senators an Unexpected Boost
Republicans keep majority in winning some races they had written off

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson.

Democrats spent months plotting how they could take back the Senate: Win Pennsylvania, steal an unexpected victory in Missouri, and up the score in blue states like New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

All of their paths to a majority — every one of them — was built on the idea that Hillary Clinton would comfortably win the presidential race. As it turns out, that was a fatal flaw.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson Holds On to Wisconsin Senate Seat
In upset, incumbent defeats Russ Feingold for a second time

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., arrives in the Capitol for a vote on Thursday, September 15, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a stunning win, Wisconsin's Republican Sen. Ron Johnson will defeat Democratic former Sen. Russ Feingold for a second time, The Associated Press projects.

Johnson led Feingold 52 percent to 45 percent with 70 percent of precincts reporting.

Senate Democratic Super PAC Spends Big on Feingold in Wisconsin
Move emblematic of struggle to close out races party long thought it would win

Former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold has long been the favorite to reclaim his Senate seat from Ron Johnson. (Courtesy Russ Feingold Facebook page)

A Democratic super PAC is making a surprise major investment in the Wisconsin Senate race in the election’s final days, a sign that a race many Democrats had long considered a sure victory has become unexpectedly tight. 

Senate Majority PAC plans to spend $2 million on behalf of Democratic former Sen. Russ Feingold, who faces incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. The ads will run on broadcast and cable TV. 

Wisconsin Senate Race Getting Nasty
Johnson calls Feingold a phony, Feingold says Johnson's getting desperate

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson said he didn’t respect his Democratic opponent, former Sen. Russ Feingold, because “I don’t respect phoniness.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The race between Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic former Sen. Russ Feingold in Wisconsin is becoming increasingly personal as the race comes to a close.

In a radio interview Tuesday, Johnson, who unseated Feingold in 2010, repeated his view that he did not respect Feingold.

Feingold Gets Hollywood Assist
While Scott Walker to stump with Ron Johnson

Comedian Sarah Silverman, seen here at the Democratic convention in July with Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, called Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold a “progressive rock star.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the Wisconsin Senate race entering the home stretch, former Sen. Russ Feingold is getting star power from Hollywood, while Sen. Ron Johnson is getting help from Gov. Scott Walker.

The Feingold campaign sent a fundraising email under Silverman’s name, in which she calls the Democrat a “progressive rock star” and “one of the very few totally righteous politicians who has always voted on the right side of history.”

The Most Effective Attack of the 2016 Election Cycle
Candidates accused of self-dealing are feeling the heat this year

North Carolina Republicans say Sen. Richard M. Burr’s race against Democratic challenger Deborah Ross was always going to be close. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Richard M. Burr last week bragged about an embarrassing personal detail most politicians would prefer to keep private: His retirement investments had sputtered — badly.

“Let me share with you, when I left the private sector 22 year ago, my retirement account was … worth a little over $200,000,” said the Republican senator from North Carolina, during a debate near Raleigh. “Today, it’s worth $258,000. Not a track record of investment many people in this country would follow.”

Poll: Wisconsin Senate Race Tightens
Johnson now within the margin of error

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is gaining on former Sen. Russ Feingold, whom he unseated in 2010. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new poll shows the Wisconsin Senate race between Republican incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic former Sen. Russ Feingold tightening.

The Marquette University Law School poll found 46 percent of likely voters supporting Feingold while 44 percent backed Johnson. In September, the same poll showed Feingold with a 5-point lead.

The Senate: How the Challengers Rank
A new No. 1 rises thanks to his unexpected strength in a Republican state

Democrats are counting on Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander to win his Senate race against Sen. Roy Blunt. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

How bad can it get for the GOP?

That’s the question party strategists are asking themselves this week after the revelation last Friday of a video in which Donald Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. Already, former Trump supporters like Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Rob Portman of Ohio, and Rep. Joe Heck of Nevada have decided to no longer back their own party’s presidential nominee. Other Republicans may not be far behind. 

Ratings Changes in 5 Senate Races
North Carolina and Missouri replace Ohio and Florida on competitive map

Two of the Republicans’ most vulnerable Senate seats are looking safer by the day, but the GOP’s majority is still in significant doubt with evolving Democratic takeover targets in North Carolina and Missouri.

Democrats outside of Ohio have all but ceded a second term to GOP Sen. Rob Portman. We’re changing The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating from Leans Republican to Republican Favored