MADISON, Wis. — Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, one in all former President Donald Trump’s largest backers, introduced Sunday that he’ll search reelection within the battleground state, breaking his promise to not search a 3rd time period.
Johnson introduced his resolution through electronic mail two days after a pair of Republicans with data of his resolution instructed The Related Press that he was near launching a bid. Johnson over the previous 12 months has been a number one voice in downplaying the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot and the coronavirus pandemic, along with remaining a vocal Trump supporter.
The race is bound to be one of the crucial hotly contested within the nation subsequent 12 months in purple Wisconsin. President Joe Biden received the state by fewer than 21,000 votes in 2020 after a equally slim win by Trump in 2016. Johnson received by almost 5 factors in 2010, his first race for workplace, after which by simply over 3 factors in 2016. Each occasions he defeated Democrat Russ Feingold.
Johnson’s announcement that he’ll run once more got here a day after Republican Sen. John Thune, of South Dakota, mentioned he would search a fourth time period. No different Senate retirements are probably past the 5 Republicans and one Democrat, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who’ve already introduced plans to step down.
Johnson, 66, had lengthy mentioned his desire was to serve simply two phrases and pledged in 2016 to not run a 3rd time.
However Johnson rescinded the pledge within the lead-up to saying his reelection bid, saying circumstances have modified after Democrats received the White Home and management of Congress.
“A lot as I’d prefer to ease right into a quiet retirement, I don’t really feel I ought to,” Johnson wrote in an editorial saying his reelection bid. He mentioned the response to the coronavirus pandemic additionally performed an element in his resolution to run once more.
Johnson, who contracted COVID-19 in October 2020 and isn’t vaccinated, has forged doubt over the efficacy of vaccines and pushed for unproven therapies. Simply final week, Johnson on conservative discuss radio mentioned, “Why do we predict that we will create one thing higher than God when it comes to combating illness? Why can we assume that the physique’s pure immune system isn’t the marvel that it truly is?”
Johnson has espoused conspiracy theories associated to final 12 months’s Capitol raid that tried to shift blame for what occurred away from Trump supporters.
Johnson has since downplayed the violence, saying it “didn’t appear to be an armed rebellion to me.”
Simply earlier than the U.S. Capitol was stormed a 12 months in the past, Johnson objected to counting the Electoral School votes from Arizona. Final 12 months, he instructed Republicans who management the Wisconsin Legislature that they need to take over management of federal elections. Republican Wisconsin Meeting Speaker Robin Vos instructed the AP on Friday that there’s “zero probability” of the Legislature taking up the awarding of the state’s 10 presidential elector votes in 2024.
Johnson mentioned he didn’t make the choice to run once more flippantly.
“Having already skilled a rising degree of vitriol and false assaults, I actually don’t count on higher therapy sooner or later,” he mentioned in his announcement.
Johnson mentioned he by no means voted with reelection in thoughts.
“An extension of that promise is that I don’t conduct myself worrying about re-election,” he wrote. “When re-election shouldn’t be your major motivation, these are straightforward guarantees to maintain — and I’ve faithfully carried out so.”
Johnson’s opponent received’t be identified this time till after an Aug. 9 major. A number of high-profile and well-funded Democrats are working, together with Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who’s looking for to turn out to be the state’s first Black senator; Milwaukee Bucks government Alex Lasry; state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and Outagamie County Government Tom Nelson.
“The one individuals celebrating Ron Johnson’s announcement are his donors and the company particular curiosity teams he’s bailed out time and time once more,” Barnes mentioned in an announcement. “Let’s get to work and retire this failed senator.”
Barnes, Godlewski, Nelson and different Democrats faulted Johnson for breaking his promise to serve solely two phrases.
Johnson’s resolution additionally has ripple results on Wisconsin’s governor’s race. Kevin Nicholson, a former Marine who ran for U.S. Senate and misplaced within the GOP major in 2018, has mentioned he would run for governor if Johnson sought reelection.
However Nicholson had been centered on working for Senate. His web site urges supporters to “assist Kevin take again Washington.”
Earlier this week, former U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy bowed out of working for Senate or governor.
Historical past is on Johnson’s facet within the midterm election. The celebration that doesn’t maintain the White Home usually features seats in midterm congressional elections. Former President Barack Obama’s Democratic Occasion, for instance, misplaced 63 seats within the Home and 6 within the Senate in 2010.
Johnson, who rose out of the tea celebration motion in 2010, has lengthy been aligned with Trump’s hardline insurance policies and politics. The 2 have remained shut following Trump’s defeat, with Trump in April endorsing Johnson for a 3rd time period and inspiring him to run.