Washington — Plastics biggest name on Capitol Hill will keep his U.S. Senate seat, with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) fending off a challenge from Democrat Russ Feingold.
Meanwhile, California was quick to be called for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, but information on other races and ballot initiatives of interest to the plastics industry were slower to come in.
In Wisconsin, Johnson, former president of sheet extruder Pacur LLC in Oshkosh, Wis., took 52 percent of the vote to Feingold's 45, with more than 70 percent of precincts reporting.
The plastics industry veteran snagged the Senate seat from Feingold in 2010, taking 52 percent of the vote that year, as well.
Feingold called Johnson to concede a little after 10 p.m., according to local news reports.
Johnson started the campaign with upbeat ads highlighting his job creation efforts, touting his manufacturing experience and featuring an extruder on Pacur's shop floor. But the TV spots have turned more somber as the race tightened and millions of dollars in ads sponsored by outside groups poured into the race.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, some $12.5 million in ads ran in the final week of the race, $7.2 million to bolster Johnson as Feingold closed in, taking the candidates within 1 percentage point of each other in the last round of polling.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee alone spent about $1 million on Johnson TV and internet spots. Other Johnson ad backers included Americans for Prosperity, funded by the Koch brothers, and Reform Wisconsin Fund, a super PAC bankrolled primarily by billionaire Diane Hendricks, owner and chairwoman of another company with deep plastics ties: ABC Supply Co. in Beloit, Wis., a major distributor of roofing, siding and home construction products.