KENOSHA, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, won a second term in Wisconsin while Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican, narrowly held onto his seat, a split result in one of the most closely divided states in the nation.
Mr. Evers defeated Tim Michels, a construction executive backed by former President Donald J. Trump. Mr. Michels had criticized Mr. Evers on his handling of the Covid pandemic and the civil unrest in Kenosha after a police shooting in 2020; he also had campaigned on making changes to the state’s election system, increasing funding for local police departments and lowering taxes.
In a victory speech, Mr. Evers thanked Wisconsin residents for giving him four more years, and for supporting democracy, educators and conservation.
Nodding to his image as a quiet, understated person who enjoys staying home to play euchre, Mr. Evers told the cheering crowd, “Some people call it boring, but you know what, Wisconsin, as it turns out, boring wins.”
Mr. Michels conceded to Mr. Evers in a phone call after midnight, he told supporters. “Unfortunately the math doesn’t add up,” he said, adding that he wished the Evers family well. “We love this state with all our hearts. I hope that some of the problems that were identified will be taken very seriously by the Evers administration.”
Mr. Johnson, a former businessman who has served two terms in the Senate, is a polarizing figure in Wisconsin. But he beat his Democratic challenger, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, courting his devoted base of Republican supporters, largely in suburban and rural areas, at campaign events and in hundreds of appearances on conservative talk radio, while spreading conspiracy theories and misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines, the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and climate change.
Mr. Michels has spent much of the last decade living part time in Connecticut and New York City but moved back to his native Wisconsin to run for governor.
It was the most expensive campaign for governor in Wisconsin history, with an estimated $115 million spent by all the candidates in both the primary and general elections.
Wisconsin has been a closely divided swing state for decades, and statewide elections are often decided by the narrowest of margins. Polls indicated a dead heat between Mr. Evers and Mr. Michels only days before the election.
Early, unofficial results from across Wisconsin showed that Mr. Michels did not perform as well as Scott Walker, the former Republican governor, did in several key counties in the 2018 election, when Mr. Evers defeated Mr. Walker.
Mr. Evers, a former state school superintendent, won by just one percentage point back then, with less than 50 percent of the vote.
But Mr. Evers’s agenda was blocked in the Legislature. The state’s legislative districts were heavily gerrymandered by Republicans, allowing the party’s candidates to gain an advantage in the statehouse. And Mr. Evers lacked power beyond the veto pen, with the Republicans holding a sizable majority of seats in the Legislature. During his four years in office, Mr. Evers vetoed close to 150 bills, setting a state record.
In interviews at the polls on Tuesday, Wisconsin voters said they were concerned about inflation, the economy, crime and threats to democracy. They also lamented the particular negativity of the campaign season this year.