One former plastics company executive lost his bid for a U.S. Senate seat Sept. 14, but another won his party's nomination for a spot on the ticket in the November election.
Bill Binnie, founder of Carlisle Plastics Inc., lost the Republican primary in New Hampshire. But Ron Johnson, president of Oshkosh, Wis.-based PET sheet extruder Pacur LLC, won the GOP primary in Wisconsin.
News organizations in Wisconsin named Johnson the winner shortly after polls closed Sept. 14. Johnson had the backing of the state Republican party. He was running against Dave Westlake, a small-business owner.
Johnson will face incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold in the general election.
Binnie, on the other hand, conceded defeat in the GOP primary in New Hampshire. Binnie was in a three-person race with Ovide Lamontagne and former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte.
Ayotte won the election by a slim margin over Lamontagne.
Political pundits could draw parallels between Johnson's and Binnie's campaigns. Both spent their own money heavily in efforts to win their state primaries. Both touted their business experience as critical advantages in a year where the economy promises to be a leading election issue.
Both were basically political newcomers. But while Johnson received support from Tea Party activists in Wisconsin, Binnie had a tougher time gaining support from conservatives.
Both candidates also faced issues dating to their experience running plastics companies.
In Binnie's case, he ran into criticism over charges that as CEO of Carlisle Plastics, he closed an A&E Plastics plant in Santa Ana, Calif., and moved the work to Tijuana, Mexico.
For Johnson, his plastics industry experience came under fire primarily from Feingold after Johnson made a comment that he has never sought special treatment or payments from the government.
Democrats have charged that Pacur did, indeed, receive government-facilitated low-interest loans for two projects.