(Headline USA) Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has announced that he will seek reelection in the battleground state.
Johnson announced his decision via email two days after a pair of Republicans with knowledge of his decision told The Associated Press that he was close to launching a bid.
The race is sure to be one of the most hotly contested in the country in purple Wisconsin. Johnson won by nearly 5 points in 2010, his first race for office, and then by just over 3 points in 2016. Both times he defeated Democrat Russ Feingold.
Johnson, 66, had long said his preference was to serve just two terms and pledged in 2016 not to run a third time.
But Johnson rescinded the pledge in the lead-up to announcing his reelection bid, saying circumstances have changed after Democrats won the White House and control of Congress.
“Much as I’d like to ease into a quiet retirement, I don’t feel I should,” Johnson wrote in an editorial announcing his bid. He said the response to the coronavirus pandemic also played a part in his decision to run again.
Johnson said he did not make the decision to run again lightly.
“Having already experienced a growing level of vitriol and false attacks, I certainly don’t expect better treatment in the future,” he said in his announcement.
Johnson’s opponent won’t be known this time until after an Aug. 9 primary. Several well-funded Democrats are running, including Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes; Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry; state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson.
Johnson’s decision also has ripple effects on Wisconsin’s governor’s race. Kevin Nicholson, a former Marine who ran for U.S. Senate and lost in the GOP primary in 2018, has said he would run for governor if Johnson sought reelection.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.