Sen. Ron Johnson, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, announced on Sunday that he would seek a third term in the key battleground state of Wisconsin.
The announcement came despite Johnson, a Republican, promising not to run for a third term if he won in 2016.
He addressed that vow in an op-ed Sunday in the Wall Street Journal.
“During the 2016 campaign, I said it would be my last campaign and final term. That was my strong preference, and my wife’s — we both looked forward to a normal private life,” he wrote in the piece.
“Neither of us anticipated the Democrats’ complete takeover of government and the disastrous policies they have already inflicted on America and the world, to say nothing of those they threaten to enact in the future,” Johnson continued.
“I believe America is in peril. 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 Tech don’t want you to hear,” Johnson said.
Wisconsin opted for President Biden in the 2020 presidential race after supporting Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Johnson won his first term in 2010 running as a Tea Party candidate and defeating incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold, a Democrat, by nearly 5 percentage points.
He beat Feingold again in 2016 by just over 3 percentage points.
Johnson made it official a day after Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said he would seek a fourth term. “I’ve always promised that I would do the work, even when it was hard, uncomfortable or unpopular. That work continues,” the No. 2 Republican in the Senate said on Saturday.
Five Senate Republicans have announced they will retire after the 2022 election — Richard Burr of North Carolina, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Rob Portman of Ohio, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Roy Blunt of Missouri.
The contests in Pennsylvania and North Carolina are considered “toss-ups” by the Cook Political Report, giving Democrats an opportunity to flip those seats.
In all, there are 34 Senate seats up for election in 2022 — 14 held by Democrats and 20 held by Republicans, according to Ballotpedia.
A win by Johnson, who has been endorsed by Trump, could help Republicans to regain control of the Senate, where Democrats hold a 50-50 majority.
The Democrats are expected to aggressively challenge the Senate seat in Wisconsin and have a number of well-funded candidates running – including Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry, state Treasurer Sarah Goldlewski and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson.
With Post wires