MILWAUKEE – US Senator Ron Johnson said Sunday he is running for re-election, breaking a campaign promise to serve just two terms but determined to keep the seat in Republican hands and influence the balance of political power in Washington during the elections. intermediate 2022.
Johnson revealed his decision in a two-paragraph statement and a larger opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
“I think America is in danger,” Johnson wrote in the op-ed. “As much as I’d like to relax into a quiet retirement, I don’t think I should.”
He acknowledged making his two-term promise during the 2016 campaign, but said he and his wife Jane did not anticipate “the total takeover of government by Democrats and the disastrous policies they have inflicted on America and the world, for not to mention they threaten to enact in the future. “
Johnson, who has come under fire for his comments on COVID-19 and cast doubt on mass vaccinations, also cited what he called “the government’s failed response” to the pandemic in his decision to run.
Johnson said he will “continue to fight for freedom in the public arena by running for re-election. It is not a decision he has made lightly. Having already experienced a growing level of vitriol and hoax attacks, I certainly do not expect any better.” treatment in the future. “
With Johnson’s emergence in recent years as a vocal ally of former President Donald Trump, a large field of Democrats is gathering and eager to confront him in the fall.
“The only people celebrating Ron Johnson’s announcement are his donors and the corporate special interest groups that he rescued time and again,” said Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, one of the top four candidates in the Democratic race. “Let’s get down to business and remove this failed senator.”
Reaction for COVID, comments from January 6
For months, Johnson pondered the decision to run for a third term, even as he often found himself embroiled in two searing national episodes: the fallout from the 2020 presidential election and the fight to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Johnson argued that The assault on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 was not an armed insurrection. Later, he was ridiculed by saying that the Donald Trump supporters who were on Capitol Hill didn’t concern him, but that he might have been concerned if they had been supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In the last few days, duplicated to cast doubt on the efficacy of vaccines, much to the dismay of health officials.
He promised to fulfill 2 mandates
Johnson, a manufacturer from Oshkosh, first ran for the US Senate in 2010 as part of a wave of Tea Party candidates emboldened to reject then-President Barack Obama and the Democrats.
With the political wind at his back, he defeated Democratic US Senator Russ Feingold.
“The people I see at those rallies are hardworking, patriotic, tax-paying Americans who are just as concerned as I am about what’s going on in this country,” Johnson said in 2010.
Johnson pledged to serve as a “citizen-legislator” and made a promise towards the end of his second campaign in 2016 to serve just two terms.
He put $ 9 million of his own money into the 2010 race and then shortly before joining the Senate, his plastics company paid him $ 10 million in deferred compensation. Pacur. The later sold its stake in the company in 2020.
In 2016, Johnson defeated Feingold in a rematch.
For much of the 2016 campaign, Johnson lagged behind in the polls. By August he was off the air, a troubling sign in a modern career. Johnson outlined a new advertising strategy with his older brother Dean, co-host and executive producer of the PBS series “Hometime,” and he was on fire down the stretch.
Johnson said if he was re-elected He would only serve two terms.
In the end, Johnson got ahead of Trump, not only saving his Senate seat, but helping turn the White House over to Republicans.
On the night of his election victory in 2016, Johnson told supporters: “I think America has given us an opportunity, an opportunity to put this nation on the right track. It is exactly what I intend to do.”
During his second term, Johnson secured what may be his signature legislative achievement, the so-called right-to-try legislation. to allow terminally ill patients to receive experimental drugs not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Johnson also promoted a key provision of a 2017 tax cut bill, successfully lobbying for a tax exemption for small businesses and other so-called transfer entities.
Pro Publica reported that Johnson’s provision it benefited wealthy Americans, including two of the biggest forces in Republican politics in Wisconsin and nationally.
Johnson said his support for the “transfer” entities “was guided by the need to keep them competitive with the large publicly traded ‘C corporations and has nothing to do with any donors or conversations with them.”
Johnson’s seat considered vulnerable
As one of the most conservative members of the Senate, Johnson has served since 2013 alongside Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin, one of the most liberal members of the Senate. Together they make up what is easily the strangest “odd couple” in the Senate. Your voting records are more different than any other pair senators from the same state.
In the two most recent Marquette Law School state polls, Johnson received some of the lowest marks of his career: 36% of registered voters viewed him favorably (in the two polls combined) while 42% viewed him favorably. they saw unfavorably.
Heading into the 2022 midterm elections, Johnson has been widely viewed in Washington as the most vulnerable senator facing re-election, arguably the most vulnerable Republican.
But it would also benefit from a difficult political climate for Democrats, reflected in President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings. In fact, senators from the party out of power (that is, the party opposing the incumbent president) have lost only one general election in Wisconsin in more than a century.
Craig Gilbert, reporter for the Journal Sentinel, contributed.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism