GOP Sen. Ron Johnson Announces Re-Election Bid With Midterms Looking Favorable for Republicans

GOP Senator Ron Johnson announced his plans to run for re-election in Wisconsin on Sunday.

Wisconsin voters first put Johnson into office during the 2010 GOP wave, when Republicans dominated during former President Barack Obama's first midterm election.

He previously pledged to serve only two terms in the U.S. Senate, but explained why he instead chose to run again in a Sunday opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal.

He wrote that when he ran for re-election in 2016, he did not anticipate "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."

"Much as I'd like to ease into a quiet retirement, I don't feel I should," he wrote. "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 has been a loyal ally to former President Donald Trump, and Democrats hope to use his staunch conservatism against him in a state narrowly carried by President Joe Biden in 2020.

But with the president's low approval rating, the midterm environment may be increasingly favorable to Republicans.

Regardless, the Senate race in Wisconsin is likely to be one of the closest and most expensive in the nation. Several Democrats, including Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, have announced their campaigns to run.

Bookmakers predicted in December that Johnson, should he run, was the favorite to win the election, with 1-5 odds. He has previously received the support of Trump, who endorsed and encouraged him to run in April 2021.

"Even though he has not yet announced that he is running, and I certainly hope he does, I am giving my Complete and Total Endorsement to Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin," Trump wrote in a statement. "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. It is the kind of courage we need in the U.S. Senate. He has no idea how popular he is. Run, Ron, Run!"

Johnson has also faced criticism throughout his tenure for making controversial remarks on topics about vaccines, the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 election.

In December, Johnson criticized the treatment of people who are not vaccinated against the coronavirus. He said during an interview on Janesville, Wisconsin-based radio show Your Talk Show: "We are demonizing [unvaccinated] people. Around the world, they're putting them basically into internment camps."

He also backed an audit of the 2020 election results in Wisconsin, even though there has been no substantial evidence of widespread voter fraud in the state.

Ron Johnson Running for Re-Election
Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a strong ally of former President Donald Trump, announced his re-election campaign on Sunday. Above, he's seen in the U.S. Capitol in March 2015. Mark Wilson/Getty Images