Senator Ron Johnson is just not prepared to surrender his congressional microphone in any case, one which the Republican has used to loudly push COVID and election-related misinformation within the spirit of Donald Trump. The Wisconsin lawmaker introduced Sunday he would search reelection for a 3rd time period this yr, strolling again his promise to serve solely two and placing all eyes on what is predicted to be one of many hardest races for Democrats within the 2022 midterms, with nationwide implications. 

“A lot as I’d prefer to ease right into a quiet retirement, I don’t really feel I ought to” when “America is in peril,” Johnson wrote in a Wall Avenue Journal opinion piece, citing “the Democrats’ full takeover of presidency” and pandemic response as among the many apparently unexpected circumstances that compelled him to run once more. “I’ll proceed to combat for freedom within the public realm by working for re-election,” he added, noting it was not a choice he “made frivolously.”

His bid may upend Democrats’ hopes of flipping the battleground state—Joe Biden gained Wisconsin narrowly in 2020, as Trump did in 2016—and potentially determine management of the Senate. Johnson’s transfer additionally has implications for Wisconsin’s governor’s contest as nicely, Related Press correspondent Scott Bauer notes, and comes solely a day after Senate Minority Whip John Thune, a Republican seen as a possible successor to Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell, announced he would run for reelection in South Dakota this yr.

Johnson, who on Sunday referred to as upon the “help of each American who values the reality and refuses to permit lies and distortions to prevail,” has been on the forefront of the assaults on public health and democracy which have come to outline immediately’s GOP, a celebration nonetheless fiercely loyal to Trump. Johnson, who’s among the many Republicans who objected to certifying Biden’s election, has spent a lot of the yr downplaying the Jan. 6 Capitol assault and carrying the torch for the Big Lie that impressed it. The Wisconsin senator told GOP state lawmakers in November that they need to attempt to take complete management of federal elections within the state, a part of the broader Republican effort following Trump’s loss to overhaul election administration of their favor. Exterior of parroting false claims about elections, Johnson has devoted a lot of his time to spreading fringe theories in regards to the coronavirus and the efficacy of vaccines. Johnson, who is just not vaccinated, has unfold anti-vaccine misinformation whereas advocating for unproven or discredited COVID-19 therapies akin to mouthwash.

Among the many checklist of Democrats working in opposition to Johnson are state treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, and Milwaukee Bucks government Alex Lasry. Historic odds bode nicely for Johnson, the Related Press notes, as “the celebration that doesn’t maintain the White Home usually features seats in midterm congressional elections.” Not giving up hope, Democrats in Wisconsin have been fundraising for almost a yr to drive turnout on this yr’s midterms, according to The New York Occasions. Ben Wikler, chairman of the Democratic Get together of Wisconsin, instructed that Johnson’s bid would “encourage” Democrats to indicate up. Johnson is “an lively menace to American democracy, a risk to public well being, and an financial saboteur of the center class,” Wikler stated.

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