Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson announced Sunday that he would run for re-election to a third term despite wanting to retire.
Johnson, 66, made the announcement in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal headlined “Why I’m Seeking a Third Senate Term” despite having previously pledged to serve just two six-year terms.
His announcement comes after South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the Republican whip, announced Saturday that he would also run for re-election. Johnson is the final Republican incumbent in the Senate to announce their decision to run for re-election in the midterms.
“I believe America is in peril,” Johnson wrote. “Much as I’d like to ease into a quiet retirement, I don’t feel I should. Countless people have encouraged me to run, saying they rely on me to be their voice, to speak plain and obvious truths other elected leaders shirk from expressing — truths the elite in government, mainstream media and Big Techdon’t want you to hear.”
The controversial Republican is a firm ally of former President Donald Trump, who encouraged Johnson to run as early as April 2021, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
“I am giving my Complete and Total Endorsement to Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin,” Trump said at the time. “He is brave, he is bold, he loves our Country, our Military, and our Vets. He will protect our Second Amendment and everything else we stand for.”
Johnson’s announcement sets up what will be a highly watched race, possibly determining control of the equally divided Senate. His seat is considered the most vulnerable of incumbent Republicans because of controversial statements he has made in the past rallying a slew of Democrats to run against him.
In the wake of the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Johnson had repeated false statements that “fake Trump protesters” had instigated the violence in an attempt to downplay the severity of the actions of Trump’s supporters, The New York Times reported.
He also challenged the results of the 2020 election, falsely claiming President Joe Biden won the election because of voter fraud, and has repeatedly made false claims about COVID-19 and questioned the efficacy of vaccines.
In one such claim, Johnson said that gargling mouthwash “has been proven to kill the coronavirus,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The claim was criticized by Listerine, a brand owned by Johnson & Johnson — which also makes coronavirus vaccines.
Copyright 2022 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.