Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown cruised to re-election in Ohio, defeating Republican Rep. Jim Renacci in a contest that never lived up to early hype.
Networks called the race about 40 minutes after the polls closed.
“You showed the country that progressives can win — and win decisively — in the heartland,” Mr. Brown said in his victory speech. “Tonight, Ohio, you showed the country that by putting people first and by honoring the dignity of work, we can carry a state Donald Trump won by nearly 10 points.”
The gravelly-voiced Brown had a massive target on his back coming into the election cycle, but appeared to dodge a bullet when Josh Mandel abruptly pulled out of the race earlier this year, citing his wife’s health.
The decision left the GOP scrambling to find a viable replacement and eventually convinced Mr. Renacci, who already announced his bid for governor, to switch gears.
The candidates raised over $35 million for the general election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Mr. Brown spent $22 million.
The 65-year-old is a darling of liberal activists and labor groups. He has been a staple of Ohio politics, serving 14 years in the House years before getting elected to the Senate in 2006.
He has opposed the nation’s free trade pacts — including the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada — that he blamed for hollowing out working-class communities across Ohio.