Johnson Says He Won't Run

Johnson Says He Won't Run



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Ron Johnson visited Milwaukee's Juneteenth Day celebration. It didn't go well.

On Saturday, during an otherwise joyful celebration of Juneteenth Day in Milwaukee, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson made an appearance at a Republican Party booth.

Johnson told reporters that his experience interacting with attendees had been generally positive, except for "one nasty comment."

However, as more people recognized him, he was drowned out by a chorus of boos. Members of a growing crowd swore at him and said, "We don't want you here."

Last year, the Wisconsin Republican blocked legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday. On Tuesday, he relented, saying, "While it still seems strange that having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is now required to celebrate the end of slavery, it is clear that there is no appetite in Congress to further discuss the matter."

The new federal holiday recalls Union troops arriving in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Texas was the last state with institutional slavery.

When asked what he thought of the boos Saturday, Johnson said: "This is unusual for Wisconsin. Most people in Wisconsin say, 'You are in our prayers we are praying for you.' . But you got some people here that are just sort of nasty at some points."

He said the situation was "not how you heal the nation."

"You come down here and try to interact with people and be nice to people. But this isn't very nice, is it?"

One attendee, Robert Agnew, said he thought the reason for the response to the senator was simple. "Ron Johnson's politics are not for us," he said.


Demetrious Johnson says he will never fight at 125lbs again: “It’s just not healthy”

ONE Championship’s Demetrious Johnson, the greatest flyweight MMA fighter of all time, says he will never fight at 125lbs again.

Johnson is the undisputed GOAT of 125lbs. He was the long-time flyweight champion in the UFC and he’s carried his talents over to ONE Championship, where he hopes to fight out the rest of his career. In ONE Championship there are more weight-cutting regulations, so the flyweight title in ONE is actually contested at 135lbs. That means that the fighters don’t have to cut as much weight. ONE implemented this rule change several years ago in an effort to curb massive and potentially fatal weight cuts.

Speaking to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani ahead of his upcoming flyweight title fight against champion Andriano Moraes, Johnson said that he will never fight at 125lbs again. “Mighty Mouse” said that such a big weight cut at this point in his career — he’s 34 years old — would be unhealthy. Therefore, he won’t make the big cut to 125 again.

“I’ll tell you what, I’m not cutting back to 125lbs, I’ll tell you that right now. No,” Johnson said. “I feel like my body works better just naturally. Like if I’m walking around at 138lbs and I have no fat on me and I’m shredded as is right now, to cut down to 125lbs, it’s just not healthy for the liver. I’m getting older now.”

If that concludes Johnson’s run as a true 125lbs flyweight then he already has the title of GOAT locked up for a long time. There are fighters like Deiveson Figueiredo who could potentially challenge Johnson’s throne at 125lbs in the future, but Figueiredo still needs some more big wins before he’s in the same conversation. He, too, could also run into a weight-cutting issue as he gets older considering he’s 32 years old. For now, it’s Johnson in the driver’s seat.

What do you think about Demetrious Johnson never fighting at 125lbs again?


Contents

Johnson was born in Mankato, Minnesota, the son of Jeanette Elizabeth (née Thisius) and Dale Robert Johnson. His father was of Norwegian descent and his mother of German ancestry. [3] Growing up, Johnson delivered newspapers, worked as a caddy at a golf course, baled hay on his uncle's dairy farm, and worked as a dishwasher in a restaurant. [4] He graduated from Edina High School in 1973 [5] and from the University of Minnesota in 1977 with a degree in business and accounting. He continued studying until 1979 but did not receive a graduate degree. [6]

In 1979, Johnson moved to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with his wife, Jane. [7] He worked for his wife's family's plastics company, [8] PACUR, an abbreviation of "Pat Curler", Jane's brother. Curler created the company with funding from his and Jane's father, Howard Curler. Howard Curler had been named CEO of the plastics giant Bemis Company in 1978, and for the first several years of PACUR's existence, Bemis was the company's only customer. [9]

According to his campaign biography, Johnson worked as PACUR's accountant and a machine operator. [9] The company later expanded into specialty plastics used in medical device packaging, which involved hiring salespeople and exporting products to other countries. [9] In the mid-1980s, Pat Curler left PACUR and Johnson became its CEO. In 1987, the Curler family sold PACUR to Bowater Industries for $18 million Johnson remained the company's CEO. In 1997, he purchased PACUR from Bowater he remained CEO until he was elected to the Senate in 2010. [10]

Elections

The 2010 U.S. Senate campaign was Johnson's first run for elected office. He was described as a "political blank slate" because he had no history of campaigning or holding office. [11] Johnson attracted the attention of the Tea Party movement when he gave two emotional speeches at Tea Party rallies. According to The New York Times, Johnson said he "did kind of spring out of the Tea Party" and is glad to be associated with it, [12] although he did not join the Senate Tea Party Caucus following his election. [13] In the September 14, 2010, Republican primary, Johnson, running a largely self-financed campaign, [14] defeated Watertown businessman Dave Westlake with 85% of the vote to Westlake's 10% and 5% for Stephen Finn. [15] [16]

As a candidate, Johnson opposed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. He launched his campaign by telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the United States "would have been far better off not spending any of the money and [letting] the recovery happen as it was going to happen." The newspaper later reported that the education council Johnson led considered applying for stimulus money in 2009, but ultimately elected not to. The Johnson campaign stated that nonprofits consider "many possibilities," but that the council "made no application" for stimulus funds. [17]

Johnson's 2010 Senate campaign raised $15.2 million, $9 million of which was his own money. [18] [19] In June 2011, his financial disclosures showed that PACUR had paid him $10 million in deferred compensation in early 2011. The compensation covered the period from 1997 to 2011, during which he took no salary from PACUR. Johnson said that, as CEO, he had personally determined the dollar amount and that it was unrelated to the contributions he had made to his campaign. [20] [21]

In the November 2 election, Johnson defeated Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold with 52% of the vote. [22]

After being elected to the Senate, Johnson claimed that he sold his liquid assets to avoid a conflict of interest and also promised to place his assets in a blind trust. [23] [24]

In March 2013, Johnson announced that he would seek reelection in 2016. In November 2014, he was again endorsed by the fiscally conservative Club for Growth [25] that month, he said he would not self-finance his reelection bid. [14] In December 2014, the Washington Post rated Johnson the most vulnerable incumbent U.S. senator in the 2016 election cycle. [26] In May 2015, Feingold announced that he would run to win the Senate seat back. [27]

In the November 8 general election, Johnson was reelected with 50.2% of the vote. [28]

Committee assignments

On January 26, 2021, Gary Peters replaced Johnson as chair of the Homeland Security committee after Democrats won control of the Senate in the November 2020 elections and "because the GOP imposes a six-year term limit on committee chairs. no matter which party [controls] the Senate". The committee's last act was to approve Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security. [29]

In March 2021, The New York Times called Johnson "the Republican Party's foremost amplifier of conspiracy theories and disinformation now that Donald Trump himself is banned from social media and largely avoiding appearances on cable television". [8]

Donald Trump

Johnson is a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump. [30] [31] [32] As chairman of the Senate homeland security committee, he launched several investigations into Trump's political opponents, including Joe Biden. [30] In September 2020, after having for months boasted that he was undertaking an investigation that would demonstrate Biden's "unfitness for office", Johnson released a report that found no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden in relation to Ukraine. Johnson's report reiterated allegations that have remained unproven, many of which had been part of Russian disinformation campaigns. [33]

In January 2018, Johnson said he had an informant with information that the FBI and Department of Justice had conspired against Trump in the 2016 presidential election Johnson called it a "secret society" and said there was "corruption at the highest levels of the FBI". [34] Later the same day, Johnson indicated that he based these claims on FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page's text messages, but conceded that he could not fully ascertain the meaning of the text messages. [35] In February 2018, Johnson further suggested that a text message between Strzok and Page raised questions about "the type and extent of President Obama's personal involvement" in the Clinton emails investigation. [36] But the message in question, which said, "Potus wants to know everything we're doing", referred to the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, not the Clinton emails investigation, which had concluded months earlier. [36] In April 2019, Johnson defended Trump's statement that some high-level FBI agents were "scum", [37] and said "I think there's a proven fact there was definitely corruption at the highest levels of the FBI." [37]

After Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election and Trump's subsequent refusal to concede, Johnson agreed with several of Trump's false claims of widespread electoral fraud. [38] While ballots were counted during the 2020 election, he said that half the country would not accept a Biden win, and made unsubstantiated claims of "voter fraud that the mainstream media and, unfortunately, many officials just simply ignore." [31] He made further baseless claims that Democrats had "gamed the system" in Wisconsin. [31] Johnson refused to acknowledge Biden's victory in the November 3 election until December 16, when he acknowledged that the election was legitimate and said he would not raise an objection to the counting of the electoral votes. [39] [40] [41] After doing so, Johnson, as chairman of the Homeland Security committee, argued "that there was some unknown incidence of fraud, but it hadn't been shown to have occurred on a scale that would have changed the outcome". [30] [42] Nevertheless, in January 2021, Johnson announced his initial intention to object to the certification of the Electoral College results. Ultimately, however, Johnson reversed this stance and voted against both of the objections raised during the 2021 Electoral College vote count. [43] Regardless, the day after the count was interrupted by the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called for Johnson, as well as other members of the so-called "Sedition Caucus", such as Wisconsin congressmen Scott Fitzgerald and Tom Tiffany, to resign or be expelled from Congress. [44]

2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol

In February 2021, Johnson pushed conspiracy theories about the January 6 storming of the Capitol, at one point blaming Nancy Pelosi. [45] He argued that she sought a second impeachment of Trump to "deflect" from "what [she] knew and when [she] knew it". [46] Johnson voted for a measure declaring that Trump's impeachment over his role in inciting the storming of the Capitol was unconstitutional. [46] He later voted to acquit Trump. [47] After Trump's acquittal, Johnson downplayed the storming of the Capitol on a conservative talk show, saying the attack "didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me". [48] [49] Politifact rated Johnson's statement as a "Pants on Fire" falsehood. [50]

In a March 2021 radio interview, Johnson added that he wasn't concerned for his safety when rioters stormed the Capitol because they "loved their country", but that he might have been concerned if the rioters had been from Black Lives Matter or Antifa. [51] Responding to bipartisan criticism of his comment as racist, Johnson said, "I completely did not anticipate that anybody could interpret what I said as racist. It’s not." [52]

On May 28, 2021, Johnson voted against creating an independent commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection. [53]

Environment and energy

Johnson rejects the scientific consensus on climate change. [8] In a 2010 interview, he called scientists who attribute global warming to manmade causes "crazy," saying the theory is "lunacy," and attributed climate change to causes other than human activity. [54] Johnson also suggested carbon dioxide was good for the environment, as it "helps the trees grow." [8] In dismissing the effects of climate change, Johnson falsely claimed that Greenland was green when it was discovered and had become white and snow-clad over time as a result of cooling temperatures. [8] In August 2015, Johnson baselessly claimed that "the climate hasn't warmed in quite a few years. That is proven scientifically," although record world temperatures were reached that year and in 2014. [55] In February 2016, Johnson said, "I've never denied climate change. The climate has always changed, and it always will". [56] Johnson co-sponsored the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which would block the EPA from imposing new rules on carbon emissions. [57]

When asked about allowing additional drilling for oil in the continental US, including the Great Lakes if oil were found there, Johnson responded, "We have to get the oil where it is, but we need to do it responsibly. We need to utilize American ingenuity and American technology to make sure we do it environmentally sensitively and safely." After criticism from the Feingold campaign, Johnson said in July 2010 that his answer did not mean he supported drilling in the Great Lakes. [58]

Fiscal issues

Obama presidency

During Obama's presidency, Johnson was a fiscal hawk who called for federal spending cuts. He was involved in the deals to raise the debt ceiling in July 2011 and January 2013. [13] Johnson said that the 2011 debate over whether to increase the US debt ceiling presented an opportunity to establish hard caps on federal spending. [59] He argued that Congress could not keep raising the debt limit, and needed to prioritize spending. [60] Johnson called for open negotiations over the debt ceiling, saying that the closed-door talks were "outrageous" and "disgusting." He said that default should not have been a concern, because the government had plenty of funding to pay interest on debt, Social Security benefits, and salary for soldiers. [61] In January 2013, Johnson voted for the fiscal cliff agreement that reduced pending tax increases and delayed spending cuts precipitated by the 2011 debt ceiling deal. [13] When asked whether he would get rid of home mortgage interest deductions (claiming mortgage interest as a tax-deductible expense), he said he "wouldn't rule it out" as part of an effort to lower taxes and simplify the tax code. [62]

Trump presidency

During the Trump administration, Johnson defended deficit-increasing tax cuts, falsely claiming that they reduced the deficit. [63] Johnson voted in favor of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. [64] During the economic recession that coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson voted for the CARES Act in March 2020, but he was a staunch opponent of further stimulus. [65] In December 2020, Johnson sought to block a bipartisan proposal to provide $1,200 in COVID-19-related stimulus checks, citing the national debt. [66] [67]

Biden presidency

In March 2021, Johnson sought to obstruct and delay passage of the American Rescue Plan Act. [68] [69] [70] Breaking from Senate norms, Johnson forced a 10-hour reading of the bill on the grounds that the Senate hadn't had time to read the bill. (In 2017, Johnson made no objection when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was speedily finalized and still contained handwritten amendments when it came up for a vote.) [71]

Gun policy

Johnson is a strong supporter of gun rights. He is cosponsor of S.570, a bill that would prohibit the Department of Justice from tracking and cataloging the purchases of multiple rifles and shotguns. [72] In April 2013, Johnson was one of 12 Republican senators to sign a letter threatening to filibuster any newly introduced gun control legislation. [73] That month, Johnson joined 45 other senators in defeating the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, which would have required background checks on all sales of guns, including between individuals. [74]

Health care

Johnson opposes the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "Obamacare") and has voted to repeal it. [75] In 2013, Johnson declined to support efforts to tie funding the federal government to defunding ACA, noting that such efforts were highly unlikely to succeed given Obama's opposition. [76] In 2014, he criticized Congress's ability to continue using pretax employer contributions to help pay for their medical care and filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block ACA exemptions to members of Congress and their staff. [77] The suit was dismissed for lack of standing, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the dismissal on appeal. [78] [79]

In an August 2017 interview, Johnson said of Senator John McCain's "thumbs-down" vote that killed the Republican bill to repeal the ACA, "He has a brain tumor right now. The vote occurred at 1:30 in the morning. So some of that might have factored in." [80] A McCain spokesman called the statements "bizarre and deeply unfortunate." Johnson later said he was "disappointed I didn't more eloquently express my sympathy for what Sen. McCain is going through." [81]

COVID-19 pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson voted against the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which passed the Senate on March 18, 2020, by a vote of 90–8. [82] In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Johnson said he was aware "what a nasty disease COVID-19 can be, and how it's obviously devastating to somewhere between 1 and 3.4 percent of the population. [b]ut we don't shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways. It's a risk we accept so we can move about. We don't shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu". His comments were met with criticism that he was "playing down" the threat of COVID-19. Johnson responded that he was "just trying to look at this very realistically". [83]

Johnson used his position as chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee to invite witnesses to hearings to promote fringe theories about COVID-19. [38] The witnesses promoted unproven drugs, made dubious claims about COVID-19 spread and pushed skepticism about vaccines. [84] Johnson called pulmonologist Pierre Kory [85] to testify about his experiences with Ivermectin, as well as a medical doctor who "has cast doubts on coronavirus vaccines and has pushed for the use of hydroxychloroquine", and a cardiologist who disagrees with "settled science". [86]

Asked about COVID-19 vaccines in March 2021, Johnson refused to say whether they were safe (as medical experts had determined) or to encourage people to get vaccinated. [8] In April 2021, he downplayed the need for widespread COVID-19 vaccinations. [87] [88] Johnson has falsely suggested that people who have contracted COVID do not need to be vaccinated, [88] and that there is no need for young people to be vaccinated. [87] These claims contradict known science and the recommendations of health officials, who note that herd immunity is the most effective to halt COVID-19's spread and severity. [87]

In May 2021, Johnson falsely claimed that thousands of deaths were connected to COVID vaccinations. He also falsely stated that there was a risk of death for people previously infected with COVID who received the vaccine. [89] YouTube suspended Johnson from posting videos on the platform for seven days over his remarks touting unproven treatments for COVID-19. [90]

Immigration

Johnson supported Trump's decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which he said was unconstitutional and "created incentives for children from Central America to take great risks to enter America illegally." Trump's decision made eligible for deportation, after a six-month waiting period, the approximately 800,000 unauthorized immigrants who entered the country as minors and had temporary permission to stay in the country. [91]

In 2021, Johnson lent credence to the "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory promoted by white supremacists that holds that white people are being purposely replaced by nonwhite people in the West. [92]

Regulations

In July 2011, Johnson introduced a bill that would have imposed a moratorium on significant new federal regulations until the national unemployment level fell to 7.7%, just below where it was when Obama took office. [93]

Senate rules

Johnson is one of the Senate Republicans who favor the "nuclear option" of ending the filibuster "to speed up consideration of President Trump's nominees" because changing the Senate's rules to a simple majority vote would "ensure a quicker pace on Trump's court picks". [94]

Social issues

Johnson opposes abortion except in cases of incest, rape, or when the mother's life is in danger. [95] [96] He opposes the funding of research that uses embryonic stem cells. Johnson has said he disagrees with it morally and that eliminating funding for the research would help balance the federal budget. [97]

In March 2015, Johnson voted for an amendment to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to allow all employees in the country to earn paid sick time. [98]

Statute of limitations for sex abuse lawsuits

In January 2010, before holding elective office, Johnson opposed a Wisconsin bill that would have eliminated the time limit for future child sexual abuse victims to bring lawsuits while allowing an additional three years for past victims to sue. [99] He testified before the Wisconsin Senate that "punishment for the actual perpetrators should be severe", but questioned whether it would be just for employers of perpetrators to be financially affected by lawsuits. [100] He added that the bill, if enacted, might reduce the reporting of child sexual abuse. [11] [99] At the time of his testimony, Johnson was on the Finance Council of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Green Bay. [11] [99] In June 2010 he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "I can't think of a penalty that would be too harsh for these guys", [11] and in late September 2010 said that the legislation would have financially crippled organizations such as the Boys & Girls Clubs and that the punishment for child sexual abuse should be "severe and swift." [99] He also addressed reports about his testimony, saying, "I sought to warn legislators of those consequences in order to correct legislative language so that any bills that passed would punish the perpetrators and those that protect them, not honorable organizations that do so much good for our communities. We must rid our society of people who prey on children." [101]

Trade

In November 2018, Johnson was one of 12 Republican senators to sign a letter to Trump requesting the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement be submitted to Congress by the end of the month to allow a vote on it before the end of the year, as they were concerned that "passage of the USMCA as negotiated will become significantly more difficult" if it had to be approved by the incoming 116th Congress. [102]

Trump-Ukraine scandal

Johnson became an important figure in the 2019 controversy surrounding U.S. aid to Ukraine. He joined the U.S. delegation at the inauguration of the new president of Ukraine in May with National Security Council official Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman and the "Three Amigos" (U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and then-special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker). [103] In August 2019, Sondland told Johnson that military aid for Ukraine was linked to Trump's push for Ukraine to investigate the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. [104] In October 2019, amid the impeachment inquiry into Trump, Johnson asserted that Trump had told him in August that he might withhold aid to Ukraine "because of alleged corruption involving the 2016 U.S. election. Johnson stood by the president, saying he was sympathetic to his concerns and didn't see any bad motives on his part". [105] Johnson has said that he asked Trump whether the aid to Ukraine was linked to the launch of the Biden investigation, and that Trump replied that it was not and asked him who had said that. Johnson replied that it was Sondland, and Trump asserted that "he barely knew him." [106] In November 2019, at the request of House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes and temporary member Jim Jordan, Johnson provided a detailed timeline of his involvement with the Ukraine situation. [106] In February 2016, he had been one of eight senators who signed a letter to then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko urging reforms in the office of the Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin. [107] On October 3, 2019, Johnson told reporters he did not recall signing the letter, which contradicts Trump's allegations that Biden had improperly pushed for Shokin's removal. [108] The same day, Johnson also said that there was nothing wrong with Trump asking China, in October 2019, to start an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden, [109] although there is no evidence of any wrongdoing by the Bidens in China. [109] Johnson has been one of the few Republican Senators to defend Trump's efforts to get Ukraine and China to investigate Biden (then a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate) and his son. [110] Sondland told the House Intelligence Committee, "I shared concerns of the potential quid pro quo regarding the security aid with Senator Ron Johnson." [111] Johnson went to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration. Meeting later with Trump, he discussed Zelensky and the aid to Ukraine Trump had withheld, urging him to release it. He approached Trump after a U.S. diplomat informed him that its release was contingent on Ukraine's willingness to conduct investigations Trump sought regarding the 2016 elections. He said he was disturbed by any linkage of the actions or the existence of a "quid pro quo" but became satisfied after Trump had personally denied to him that the release was tied to political investigations. On November 26, however, the New York Times reported that Trump had been briefed about a whistleblower complaint involving a quid pro quo before releasing the withheld military aid to Ukraine. [112]

Johnson also met in 2019 with Ukraine diplomat Andrii Telizhenko regarding Ukraine's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. [113] The State Department revoked Telizhenko's visa in October 2020, and CNN reported the U.S. government was considering sanctioning him as a Russian agent. [114] Johnson has promoted conspiracy theories that the FBI and CIA have sabotaged Trump. [115] [116] [117] In November 2019, he suggested that Vindman, who testified about Trump's phone call to Zelensky, might have participated in efforts to oppose Trump's policies and remove him from office, saying it was "entirely possible." [118] Michael Volkov, Vindman's lawyer, called Johnson's attack "such a baseless accusation, so ridiculous on its face, that it doesn’t even warrant a response." [119] Vindman was brought to the U.S. with his identical twin brother by their widowed father when they were three years old. He is a decorated veteran from the Iraq war, having received a Purple Heart after being wounded in an IED blast. He is fluent in Russian and Ukrainian. [120] [121] [122] [123] He was previously posted to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. [124] The Washington Post wrote, "Johnson's letter intensified a campaign of attacks on Vindman from Trump and his allies, which has included speculation about the decorated war veteran's patriotism from conservative commentators and a White House statement on Friday criticizing his job performance." [125]

Johnson criticized Trump for firing Sondland, calling Sondland "a patriot". [126] After Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick and replaced him with an ally, Johnson said, "I'm not crying big crocodile tears over this termination." [127]

Wisconsin U.S. Senate Republican primary 2010 [16]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ron Johnson 500,925 84.7%
Republican Dave Westlake 61,303 10.4%
Republican Stephen Finn 29,005 4.9%
Wisconsin U.S. Senate election 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ron Johnson 1,125,999 51.86%
Democratic Russ Feingold (incumbent) 1,020,958 47.02%
Republican gain from Democratic
Wisconsin U.S. Senate election 2016 [28]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ron Johnson 1,479,262 50.2%
Democratic Russ Feingold 1,380,496 46.8%
Libertarian Phil Anderson 87,531 3.0%
Republican hold

Johnson and his wife Jane reside in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. [7] They have three children, all graduates of the University of Wisconsin, [128] and four grandchildren. He is a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. [129]

On October 3, 2020, Johnson announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19. [130] After exposure on September 14, he quarantined until September 28. He tested negative twice during the quarantine, and was asymptomatic, but tested positive again later and returned to isolation. [131] While awaiting a COVID-19 test result, Johnson attended a fundraising event. [130]


Ron Johnson Says He May Not Run for Re-Election in Wisconsin

The Republican map looks favorable in 2022. And in normal years, the party that doesn’t hold the White House typically does well in the mid-terms election. So the GOP has high hopes for their chances to retake power in two years.

But a number of Republicans won’t be along for the ride. On Monday, Ohio’s Rob Portman announced that he will not be running in 2022. He joins Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey and North Carolina’s Richard Burr.

Democrats are licking their chops at these opportunities. Ohio has gone strong for Trump recently, but Democrat Sherrod Brown is one of the state’s senators. Pennsylvania went for Biden in 2020 and while North Carolina went for Trump in 2020, the state elected Democratic governor Roy Cooper in 2016.

Today, another Republican senator in a purple state said that he might join Toomey, Burr and Portman. Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson didn’t commit to running for office in 2022.

Politico’s Andrew Desiderio tweeted on Monday night, “ Ron Johnson still undecided on whether to seek re-election in 2022, he tells me.”

Ron Johnson still undecided on whether to seek re-election in 2022, he tells me

&mdash Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) January 25, 2021

Johnson has been somewhat of a controversial lawmaker throughout the Trump years. He was voted into office in 2010 with the backing of the Tea Party.

He has been a huge supporter of the president and pushed for investigations into Burisma and Hunter Biden.

The Biden campaign responded to Johnson’s action, saying at the time “ Senator Johnson should be working overtime to save American lives and jobs — but instead, he’s wasting taxpayer dollars on a blatantly dishonest attempt to help Donald Trump get reelected.”


Ron Johnson Says He Is 'Highly Suspicious' of the 'Big Push' for Everyone To Get COVID Vaccine

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) wants to know “what’s the point” of trying to get everyone vaccinated for COVID-19.

During an interview with conservative Wisconsin radio host Vicki McKenna, Johnson said, “The science tells us that vaccines are 95% effective, so if you have a vaccine, quite honestly, what do you care if your neighbor has one or not?”

The senator added, “You’ve got a vaccine. Science is telling you it’s very, very effective. Why is this big push to make sure everybody gets a vaccine, to the point when you better impose it, you’re going to shame people, you’re going to force them to carry a card to prove that they’ve been vaccinated so they can just stay in society.”

“I’m getting highly suspicious of what’s happening here,” he said.

President Joe Biden has urged all Americans over the age of 16 to get the COVID-19 vaccine, saying on Wednesday, “Vaccines can save your own life, but they can also save your grandmother’s life, your co-worker’s life, the grocery store clerk, or the delivery person helping you and your neighbors get through the crisis.”

More than 218 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the U.S., as of Thursday morning.

Johnson’s remarks drew a response from Joe Walsh — who ran a 2020 Republican primary challenge against former President Donald Trump — tweeted, “Dear Ron Johnson, Please don’t run for re-election. Sincerely, A Friend [and] Former Congressional Colleague.”

Dear Ron Johnson,

Please don’t run for re-election.

Sincerely,

A Friend & Former Congressional Colleague https://t.co/H7VJc4FqPS

&mdash Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) April 23, 2021

Johnson has not said whether he would run for reelection or not, but he has received support from Trump to do so.

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Read the Full Transcript

Judy Woodruff:

Across the country, prosecutors are working to overturn wrongful convictions, helping to free the very people their offices convicted in the past, aiming to right historical injustices.

But, as John Yang reports, a battle in Missouri between a progressive prosecutor and a conservative state attorney general has left one man's quest for freedom in limbo.

For nearly 26 years, Lamar Johnson's been serving life without the possibility of parole for a murder he says he didn't commit.

Lamar Johnson:

For the most part, prison is just constant fear, especially you first come in. It's afraid of how it is and what's going to happen to you.

Then it's just fear of dying in prison and fear of getting sick in prison and fear of being abandoned, in my case, fear of just not having the opportunity to be heard.

Now 47 years old, Johnson was only 21 years old when he was locked up. For decades, he fought his conviction without the help of a lawyer.

Lamar Johnson:

I have not even had a hearing on any of the evidence that I have presented. And I don't understand why.

Lindsay Runnels, Attorney:

The truth of the matter is, is that it's very easy to get a wrongful conviction. It's incredibly difficult to overturn one.

Today, Lindsay Runnels and the Midwest Innocence Project represent Johnson. Runnels spoke to us at the scene of the crime in question, the October 30, 1994, murder of Marcus Boyd, a friend of Johnson's.

According to court papers, Boyd was selling crack cocaine to a friend.

So, Lindsay, set the scene for us. It was at night, from what I can tell, about 9:00 at night.

Lindsay Runnels:

That's right. Not much light. There's this overhead streetlight here. But it was dark, 9:00 in the fall. They're sitting on the porch. And two fully masked Black males dressed in all in black clothing came around from behind the house, through the alleys here, ran up on the porch, and grabbed Marcus.

There was a struggle, and Marcus Boyd was fatally shot.

Lindsay Runnels:

He was about 3.5 miles from here.

And how do we know he was there?

Lindsay Runnels:

He has &mdash he was there with his girlfriend, who testified at trial, and two other people.

At Johnson's trial, his girlfriend said he left the house for less than five minutes to meet a friend, which turned out to be a drug deal.

Police testified he could have left and killed Boyd in no more than five minutes. But look at a Google map showing the route between the two locations. It takes about double that to go just one way. And police said the other man on the porch identified Johnson, despite the fact that he said it was dark and that both attackers hid their faces.

Lindsay Runnels:

They wore ski masks that had a cutout for the eye area and portions of the nose.

So, that's all that was visible?

Lindsay Runnels:

Just the eyes and a little bit of the nose?

Lindsay Runnels:

What's more, since Johnson's conviction, two men have confessed to being the ones who killed Boyd, and said Johnson had nothing to do with it.

Kimberly Gardner, St. Louis Circuit Attorney:

It shows that, sometimes, there is a miscarriage of justice.

In 2018, Johnson found an unexpected ally in St. Louis circuit attorney Kimberly Gardner, the current head of the very office that put him away.

Kimberly Gardner:

I believe that, because I'm a minister of justice, and because I uncovered wrongdoing in this case, it is my obligation under the Constitution, not just the state, but the U.S. Constitution, to correct a wrongful conviction. And that's what I did.

His case is extremely old.

Gardner began to reexamine Johnson's case through her newly-created Conviction Integrity Unit, a tool progressive prosecutors are increasingly using to prevent, identify, and undo wrongful convictions.

Kimberly Gardner:

A conviction integrity unit, in my mind, is not only to correct wrongful convictions, it's actually to teach prosecutors, police, to be a training tool, to actually help us do a better job.

We have to train our attorneys that, in the end of the day, we're ministers of justice, to pursue justice, not merely convictions.

According to a national database, last year, there were 74 conviction integrity units operating in the United States, eight of them newly opened. Together, they were responsible for nearly half of the country's 129 exonerations.

Gardner's investigation turned up even more proof of Johnson's innocence. The prosecution's eyewitness recanted, admitting he'd only identified Johnson because police told him Johnson was guilty.

And her team found records showing prosecutors paid that witness more than $4,000 for housing and expenses, information that was never disclosed to the defense.

So, you have no evidence that he committed the crime. You have the confession of two other people that they committed the crime and that he did not. You have raised pretty good questions about whether or not the trial was fair. People will ask, then why is he in prison?

Kimberly Gardner:

That's a good question. I mean, that's a good question.

In 2019, armed with her new evidence, Gardner went to court to ask for a new trial. For Johnson, having the top St. Louis prosecutor on his side was powerful.

Lamar Johnson:

I knew the Innocence Project believed in it, three different directors, all types of law students, all type of law professors.

Everybody looked at the case, and they all said the same thing. But she represented the state. And it was the first time that somebody from the other side had acknowledged the same thing.

But it wasn't enough. A judge threw out Gardner's request for a new trial.

Many say this case has become less about Lamar Johnson and the evidence of his innocence and more about a struggle between a conservative state attorney general and a progressive prosecutor.

In the wake of the death of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson and the protests and unrest that followed, Gardner was elected in 2016 on a pledge to shake up the St. Louis criminal justice system.

She's done that. But it hasn't made her very popular with the political establishment. When Gardner asked for a new trial for Johnson, the judge took the unusual step of appointing state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican, to intervene. Schmitt argued that the law doesn't give Gardner the power to ask for a new trial, despite the fact that, in 2018, another Missouri prosecutor was allowed to set aside two convictions in his district based on new evidence.

Kimberly Gardner:

The attorney general never questioned whether Lamar Johnson was innocent or there was any evidence that Lamar Johnson committed the crime. What he talked about was whether the prosecutor, like myself, had the ability to actually correct wrongful convictions.

And that's a problem, because you have a duty, and your duty is to protect everyone, even people who are incarcerated.

The judge and later the state Supreme Court agreed with Schmitt. For Johnson, who thought he had a breakthrough when he got the backing of Gardner's Conviction Integrity Unit, it was a heavy blow.

Lamar Johnson:

I was just sure that they was going to at least grant me a hearing. And when they said no, it's just &mdash it was devastating.

That was true for Johnson's family, too. Daughter was just an infant when he was locked up. Despite a lifetime apart, she and her father have grown close.

Kiera Barrow, Daughter of Lamar Johnson: All the hope that you had, it's just quickly snatched from you.

It's frustrating because the conversation is not whether or not he's innocent, but who has the power and the authority to release him.

Gardner says this was about politics.

Kimberly Gardner:

If I was part of the status quo club of prosecutors, I believe Lamar Johnson would be home yesterday. And I'm sorry for that.

Schmitt's office never responded to multiple requests from the "NewsHour" for comment. Since the state Supreme Court decision, one legal hurdle to a new trial for Johnson could soon be removed.

Last month, the Missouri legislature passed a new bill explicitly allowing local prosecutors to ask for the convictions of those wrongly imprisoned to be set aside. It's on Governor Mike Parson's desk, awaiting his decision.

Attorney General Schmitt, now running for the U.S. Senate, could still object, and a judge would still have the final say.

Meanwhile, Johnson's attorneys have a plan of their own, ask the courts to release him because his constitutional rights were violated at trial.

Lindsay Runnels:

But that is a hard process. There's a lot of things that have to happen before he gets that day in court, as we say.

There will be objection, if past is any indication of the future. I assume that the attorney general's office will object to Lamar Johnson getting a hearing,

Lamar Johnson:

My concern is just simply getting caught up for God knows how long of procedural matters, procedural technicalities. If truth matters, if justice is what really is important, why can't we just get to that?

Johnson says he remains hopeful that, one day, he will be free.

Lamar Johnson:

From the beginning, I knew something was wrong because I got convicted for something I didn't do. And so I knew the truth was out there somehow. And I just didn't give up. And knowing that kept me hopeful.

Like, as long as there's life, there's hope. And so long, as there's hope, I know that the situation can be righted.

Even when that hope is dashed again and again by a system that seems stacked against him.


NBA Legend Magic Johnson Says Ben Simmons 'Can't Recover' With Sixers

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons has received a lot of comparisons to former and current NBA players during his time in the league so far. Coming into the NBA, many dubbed Simmons as the next LeBron James.

Considering his jump shot was one of his biggest question marks, the LeBron comparisons faded away at this point. At a point, Simmons received comparisons to another face of the Los Angeles Lakers, NBA legend Magic Johnson.

Since Simmons isn&apost the prototypical size of an NBA point guard, many believed he could become another Magic Johnson-type of player. Obviously, with Simmons&apos value trending down as he turned in another disappointing playoff series in the second round, those Magic Johnson comparisons don&apost fit the narrative either.

Being somebody that&aposs had an interest in working with Simmons before, Johnson has been paying attention to the Sixers&apos starting point guard over time. After witnessing Simmons struggle during the 2020-2021 NBA Playoff run, the former Lakers legend came to the conclusion that he cannot recover from his woes if he remains in Philly.

"It’s time for a change because he can’t recover from this," Johnson said on ESPN&aposs KJZ show. "The locker room won’t recover from it."

While Johnson went back for a moment and made it clear he believes the Sixers lost the second-round series to the Hawks as a team when they dropped Game 5, he still thinks Simmons&apos time with the Sixers will come to an end sooner than later. 

"He&aposs gotta be somewhere else," Johnson continued. "Locker room and the fans -- it&aposs over. You can&apost recover from this. First, we gotta look at Game 5. You already know Philadelphia loves the Sixers. You already know on talk radio who they are pointing at. Playing the point guard position, [you] have to be the leader [you] have to step up. He&aposs a soft leader in terms of soft-spoken. 

"If you don&apost deliver in crunch time, the finger is gonna get pointed. It&aposs like playing the quarterback position in the NFL. If the team loses, you&aposre gonna point the finger at the quarterback. They&aposre gonna point the finger at Ben Simmons."

As Johnson speculated, a lot of the blame for the Sixers&apos struggles in the second round has been placed on Simmons. While the 76ers certainly lost as a team against the Hawks, Simmons&apos offensive limitations are nothing to overlook. 

While Sixers head coach Doc Rivers is confident that Simmons can turn it around next season, it won&apost be surprising if Philly&aposs President of Basketball Operations, Daryl Morey fields calls for the All-Star veteran as a fresh start could be beneficial both parties.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.


Boris Johnson Says He Won't Run For Prime Minister

Brexit campaigner and former London Mayor Boris Johnson waves after addressing a press conference in central London on Thursday. Johnson said he will not stand to succeed Prime Minister David Cameron, as had been widely expected. Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

Brexit campaigner and former London Mayor Boris Johnson waves after addressing a press conference in central London on Thursday. Johnson said he will not stand to succeed Prime Minister David Cameron, as had been widely expected.

Boris Johnson, who was widely considered a top candidate for U.K. prime minister once David Cameron steps down, has announced he will not be seeking the position.

The former mayor of London was a vocal proponent of the Brexit, and is a popular political figure — widely referred to as just "Boris."

He, like Cameron, is a member of the U.K.'s Conservative Party, which controls the British Parliament the party's members will be choosing Cameron's replacement over the course of this summer.

Johnson, along with Interior Minister Theresa May, was seen as one of the favorites for the post.

But on Thursday, Johnson's political ally Michael Gove announced he would throw his hat into the race. Gove, the justice secretary, campaigned alongside Johnson to push for the U.K.'s departure from the EU.

The Associated Press reports that Gove's announcement shook up the race for prime minister:

"Gove, a close friend of Cameron's, had previously said he would back Johnson, but in a commentary in the Spectator magazine he said he had come 'reluctantly, to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead.'

"His U-turn will hurt the chances of Johnson, who succeeded in widening his popularity among Conservative members and beyond as London mayor, but is viewed warily by many other lawmakers in the ruling party."

Hours later, Johnson announced he'd decided not to run at all.

Parallels

Boris Johnson: London's Ex-Mayor Could Be Britain's Next Prime Minister

After speaking for more than 10 minutes about the course he thinks the next prime minister should take — to a crowd that assumed he was laying out his own plans — Johnson said, "I must tell you, my friends, you who have waited faithfully for the punchline of this speech, that having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in parliament, I have concluded that person cannot be me."

He said he would give his entire support to the next Conservative government, and did not take any questions.

Last week in a report for NPR, Lauren Frayer described Johnson's populist appeal — and the challenge of turning his "goofy charisma into national poll numbers."

She described Johnson as an Oxford-educated historian, author and former journalist with "a reputation for what the British call buffoonery."

"While Johnson is seen by many as the favorite [candidate for prime minister], he has his detractors," Frayer wrote. "An angry crowd booed him Friday morning as he left his north London home."


Ron Johnson Suggests That He May Leave The Senate And Not Run For Reelection

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said that his preference is to leave the Senate and not run for a third term in 2022.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported:

Johnson is openly considering a third term despite Democratic challengers already lining up to challenge him and his pronouncement while running for a second term in 2016 that it would be his last.

“That pledge is on my mind, it was my preference then, I would say it’s probably my preference now,” Johnson said during a Friday media call. “I’m happy to go home.”

Johnson said that he might run for a third term because Democrats control the government and might consider the harmful effects of Democrats ramming through their agenda.

There are already open Senate seats in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio due to Republican incumbent retirements. If Johnson retires, Wisconsin would move to near the top of the list of Democratic targets. Pennsylvania is likely the party’s top target for a winnable seat pickup, but Wisconsin would be next on the list.

Johnson’s retirement would be a gift to the people of the Badger State as his constant conspiracy spewing is an embarrassment. The state would be immediately better served if “RonAnon” were no longer a US Senator.

For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.

Mr. Easley is the managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.

Awards and Professional Memberships

Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association