AP: Johnson to become first Republican senator in 18 years - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

AP: Johnson to become first Republican senator in 18 years

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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A businessman who sought support from the tea party has toppled one of the Senate's most prominent liberals.

Republican Ron Johnson defeated three-term Democrat Russ Feingold on Tuesday, becoming the state's first Republican senator in 18 years.

Johnson ran a plastics company for 31 years. On the campaign trail, he touted his accounting and business experience, saying he knew how to create jobs and balance budgets.

He rose to prominence after giving two well-received tea party speeches. He has said his top priority is to repeal health care.

Feingold tried to appeal to voters with his reputation as a maverick. But he failed to gain traction, in part because voters believed President Barack Obama had not delivered on his message of change.

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