Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson decided to not retire

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Madison, Wis.

Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin announced Sunday that he would seek reelection as a Republican in the battleground state. This is despite his promise not to run for a third term.

Johnson made his announcement via email on Sunday, two days after two Republicans who were aware of his decision informed The Associated Press they believed he was near to launching a campaign. Johnson has been vocal Trump supporter and a leader in downplaying the January 6, Capitol Riot, and the coronavirus pandemic.

The race will be one of the most competitive in the country next year, in purple Wisconsin. President Joe Biden won the state by fewer than 21,000 votes in 2020 after a similarly narrow win by Trump in 2016. Johnson won 2010, by almost 5 points his first race for office and by just 3 points in 2016. his second race for office. He defeated Russ Feingold both times.

Johnson announced that he will run again just days after South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune said he would run for a fourth term. Other than the five Republicans and Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt), who have announced their plans to resign, no other Senate retirements are likely.

Johnson 66, has long stated that he preferred to serve only two terms. He also pledged in 2016 to not run for a third term.

But Johnson,

, had long stated that he preferred to serve only two terms and pledged in 2016 not to run for a third. He said circumstances had changed since Democrats gained control of Congress and the White House.

“I’d love to retire in peace, but I don’t think I should,” Johnson said in an editorial that announced his reelection bid. Johnson said that the response to the coronavirus epidemic also played a role in his decision to run again.

Johnson, who contracted COVID-19 in October 2020 and is not vaccinated, has cast doubt over the efficacy of vaccines and pushed for unproven treatments. Johnson said last week on conservative talk radio, “Why do you think we can create something more than God in terms disease combatting?” Johnson has suggested conspiracy theories regarding last year’s Capitol raid, which attempted to shift the blame from Trump supporters.

Johnson later downplayed the violence and said it “didn’t seem like an armed rebellion to me .”

Just prior to the storming of the U.S. Capitol last year, Johnson opposed the counting of the Electoral College votes coming from Arizona. He told Republicans in Wisconsin that they should take control of federal elections last year. Robin Vos, Republican Wisconsin Assembly Speaker, told the AP that the Legislature has “zero chance” of taking control of the state’s 10 presidential election votes in 2024..

Johnson stated that he didn’t take lightly the decision to run for a second term.

” Having experienced an increase in vitrioles and false attacks, I don’t think I can expect better treatment in future,” he stated in his announcement.

Johnson stated that he has never voted with the idea of reelection.

“He wrote that he doesn’t worry about reelection. “When re-election is not your primary motivation, those are easy promises to keep — and I have faithfully done so.”

Johnson’s opponent won’t be known this time until after an Aug. 9 primary. There are several high-profile, well-funded Democrats running for office, including Lt. Governor. Mandela Barnes is running to be the state’s first Black senator.

“The only people who celebrate Ron Johnson’s announcement were his donors and corporate special interests groups that he’s bailed him out time and again,” Barnes stated in a statement. “Let’s get to work and retire this failed senator.”

Johnson’s decision also has ripple effects on Wisconsin’s governor’s race. Kevin Nicholson is a former Marine who ran to the U.S. Senate, but lost in the GOP primary 2018,. He has stated that he will run for governor in Johnson’s absence.

Nicholson was primarily focused on running to the Senate. His website encourages supporters to help Kevin take back Washington.

Earlier this week, Sean Duffy, a former U.S. Rep., decided to withdraw from running for governor or the Senate.

History is supporting Johnson in the midterm elections. In midterm congressional elections, the party that doesn’t hold the White House gains more seats. For example, the Democratic Party of former President Barack Obama lost 63 seats to the House and six to the Senate in 2010..

Johnson is a former member of the tea party movement in 2010, and has been closely aligned to Trump’s hardline politics and policies. Following Trump’s defeat in April, Trump endorsed Johnson for a third term and encouraged him to run.

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