GOP Sen. Johnson says no decision on his political future
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said Thursday, a day after the U.S. Capitol was stormed by supporters of President Donald Trump, that he has not made a decision yet on his political future as the vocal Trump backer faces two years in the minority and mounting calls for him to step aside.
The Republican, who is midway through his second term, will be in the minority for the first time after Democrats won a pair of run-off elections in Georgia. News of the second Democratic win, sealing their majority, came as rioters were in the Capitol, disrupting confirmation of Democrat Joe Biden’s win.
Johnson is weighing whether to seek a third term, run for governor or step down. His decision will have a cascading effect in Wisconsin as other Republicans wait to see what he does.
Johnson, reached early by text message Thursday, said he was boarding a plane and he had made “no decision” on his future.
Johnson is one of Trump’s most vocal backers and had supported objecting to certifying Biden’s victory, but backed off after the riot at the Capitol by supporters of the president. Johnson has faced blistering criticism from fellow Republicans, and editorials calling him unfit to serve, in the wake of his unfounded claims of widespread election fraud and wrongdoing.
The Democratic Senate majority means Johnson will lose his post as chairman of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, a panel he used to hold a hearing on baseless election fraud claims and that he pledged to use to further investigate the 2020 race.
Johnson had earlier pledged not to serve more than two terms in the Senate. He later recanted, saying he wanted to wait until after the 2020 election to make a decision. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is up for re-election in 2022 but hasn’t said yet whether he will seek a second term.
Tom Nelson, a Democrat who is the Outagamie County executive, has already announced plans to run for the Senate. Numerous Republicans are weighing either a run for governor or Senate but are waiting to see what Johnson does.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.