MILWAUKEE — In exactly 10 months, Wisconsin voters will decide who they want in the US Senate. Republican Ron Johnson officially announced today he wants the job again after initially indicating in 2016 he would not run for a third term.
"I am announcing I will continue to fight for freedom in the public realm by running for re-election. It is not a decision I have made lightly."
A lot has changed for Johnson and the country. For starters the pandemic has divided voters over what's best the country. Johnson has positioned himself as a critic of mandates and vaccines during the pandemic. He has made controversial comments that defy the science and medical professionals when it comes to fighting the virus.
Johnson did not specifically address the push back on that front in his announcement but said: "Having already experienced a growing level of vitriol and false attacks, I certainly don’t expect better treatment in the future."
The Oshkosh Republican rode the red wave to victory in 2010 by beating Russ Feingold, a three term Democratic maverick. Six years later it would be a repeat match and another come from behind win for Johnson.
It was also the same year Donald Trump stunned the state and country by turning Wisconsin red for the first time in 30 years. Johnson was one of the few Senate Republicans on the ballot in 2016 to outperform the top of the ticket with 70,000 more votes that President Trump.
The political landscape in 2022 will have some similarities to 2010. It’s another midterm election that historically favors the party that’s not in the White House. That’s good news for Johnson. But the two term senator is no longer a new comer and Democrats have had this race in 2022 circled on their calendar for a year.
“Wisconsin voters will relish the opportunity to fire Ron Johnson, who has used his senatorial power to enrich himself and his wealthiest donors at the expense of the middle class," said Ben Wikler, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
Some of the challenges Johnson will face can be found in the most recent Marquette Law School Poll from last November.
42% view him unfavorably, 54% say they “trust him not much or not at all” for coronavirus information and 52% said they would vote for someone else. Marquette has yet to poll any Democratic challengers.
Several are already running to challenge Johnson, they include Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Milwaukee businessman Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson.
Johnson does have the full support of former President Donald Trump who made it clear last April that he wants Johnson on the ballot by saying: Run Ron Run.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.