Last updated on January 16, 2021
From The New York Times:
The first television advertisements of the 2022 campaign cycle are on the air in Wisconsin.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin on Wednesday morning began a week’s worth of television and digital ads pounding Senator Ron Johnson for his role in fomenting doubts about President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the presidential election and tying the senator to last week’s riots at the Capitol.
With gruesome images of a Capitol Police officer being crushed by Trump supporters, the ad’s narrator cites an editorial published last week in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that called Mr. Johnson “a leading member of the Senate’s Sedition Caucus” and demanded his resignation.
The state party is spending more than $100,000 to put the Johnson ad on the air in five Wisconsin TV markets and Washington, D.C., beginning Wednesday morning, and plans to keep it on television through Mr. Biden’s inauguration next week, according to Ben Wikler, the Wisconsin Democratic chairman.
Last week Tuesday the Minocqua Brewing Company announced it had started a Super PAC to unseat the two Republicans representing the area who were challenging the election of Democrat Joe Biden: U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and Congressman Tom Tiffany.
The very next day a mob of thousands of Trump supporters overran the U.S. Capitol and the donations began flowing into the new Super PAC. “We’ve raised $25,000 in a week,” says Minoqua Beer Company owner Kirk Bangstad. “It’s amazing.”
The company is also donating 5% of its profits to the Super PAC, which is also targeting state Rep. Rob Swearingen, for his opposition to efforts by Gov. Tony Evers to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. All three politicians are up for reelection in 2022 and the idea behind the Super PAC is to help defeat them and “help free the Northwoods of corruption, sedition and conspiracy theories,” as the campaign puts it.
President Donald Trump's administration slapped sanctions on seven Ukrainian officials Monday for trying to undermine President-elect Joe Biden's candidacy, including a former diplomat who met with U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in 2019.
Johnson, a Republican from Oshkosh, repeatedly cited information provided by Ukrainian official Andriy Telizhenko as he tried to discredit the Democratic nominee.
Monday's sanctions against Telizhenko and others prompted Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon to say Johnson's investigation of Biden was “based on Russian disinformation.”
“The Senate was used to give credibility to foreign disinformation for the sole purpose of boosting Donald Trump's campaign, and that can't happen again,” Wyden said in a statement.
Going into the new year, Ben Wikler said he's confident 2021 will see a stronger Wisconsin Democratic Party than any other non-election year in the organization's history.Though the state chair noted there are years parties emerge from elections “almost broken” and in internal disarray, he said Democrats this time have prioritized “doing deep analysis of everything that went right and everything that went wrong” as they “capture all the hard-learned lessons from 2020” in preparation for the next round of contests.“We’ve been thinking deeply about how to make sure that 2021 doesn't look like 2009, in terms of building on the momentum of a historic presidential race,” Wikler said in a recent interview, referencing the year between President Barack Obama winning his first term and Republicans securing massive victories up and down the ballot in the midterms.When reflecting on 2020, Wikler credited the party's successes to laying the groundwork early for this cycle (which proved crucial when COVID “trashed” Democrats' door knocking and in-person voter contact plans) and strongly prioritizing the spring general election by creating a bigger organizing team for the Supreme Court race than that of the fall 2018 election.That helped then-Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky topple incumbent conservative Justice Daniel Kelly to win a full 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in April, giving liberals a 3-4 minority on the bench. Democrats then went on to narrowly win the presidential election in November when Democrat Joe Biden flipped Wisconsin back to blue.
Wisconsin will be a political hot bed this year and next year for sure. Johnson has already attracted one candidate:
Democrats believe Johnson’s strategy, if he intends to run for reelection, is clear: He’s trying to hold onto Trump’s base to power him to a third term. Trump has led his supporters to believe that the 2020 election was rigged against him, and Johnson is feeding that narrative with his recent statements as well as his intention to hold a hearing on the subject.
Meanwhile, Democrats are itching to throw Johnson out of power — perhaps more so than any other Senate Republican who is on the ballot in 2022. Even before the 2020 election was over, a Democratic opponent stepped forward to challenge Johnson, and the party is betting that Johnson’s full-on embrace of Trumpism will fare poorly in Wisconsin.
“Of all the Trump apologists, he stands out as number one,” Tom Nelson, the first prominent Democrat to jump into the race against Johnson, said in an interview. “People were upset at Johnson before the election, but it has — I mean, I would use the word contempt. Because he’s not doing his job.”
Nelson, a county executive and the former majority leader in the state Assembly, said that despite Wisconsin’s electoral trends, he fully expects the race to be a competitive one, noting that Democrats’ margins of victory in 2018 and 2020 — and Trump’s margin there in 2016 — were all razor thin.
It remains to be seen who else will jump into the race to take on Johnson or if he’ll decide to retire. Either way, we need to be ready. Click below to donate and get involved with The Wisconsin Democratic Party and their fellow Wisconsin Democrats campaigns:
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