Johnson, Lasry have financial advantage in U.S. Senate race

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 9:25 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 2:29 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - The start of campaigning for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seat is just getting underway now that Ron Johnson has announced his intention to seek a third term.

That race could decide control of the U.S. Senate and over the next ten months pump a record amount of campaign money into our state.

Johnson made his announcement on Sunday and soon after ads defending his position hit the airwaves, explaining why he’s not sticking to a pledge of just two terms.

“Our nation is on a very dangerous path. If you’re in a position to help make our country safer or stronger would you just walk away? I’ve decided I can’t,” Johnson said in the ad.

With Johnson in the race, so is a significant bank account, with online records showing he’s raised more than $4.2 million, ranking number 30 in a list of candidates running for Senate across the country.

Among Democrats, Alex Lasry has the financial edge, raising more than $3.1 million, with $800,000 of that being his own money.

That’s much higher than any of his challengers in the Democratic primary.

St. Norbert College political professor Angel Saavedra Cisneros said, “We’ve broken records with expenditures every election since Obama first was elected, so I think we’re going to see again huge amounts of spending. We’re going to see spending not just from the parties obviously or individuals but also from PACS, super PACS, special interests.”

Of the four top Democrats, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson has the least amount of cash on hand, raising about $726,000.

However, he believes he has a geographical advantage.

“Being the only candidate from Northeast Wisconsin I think puts me in a great position where I do strongly here in my backyard and in other parts of the state, hold our own in Madison and Milwaukee, I think we stand an excellent chance to win this thing,” Nelson said.

Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes has raised more than $1.1 million, and State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski more than $1.8 million.

Another round of financial reports are due out next week. Click here for the most recent report. Plus, we continue to await new polling to give us a better picture of what voters think now that Johnson is officially on the ballot.

On Action 2 News at 4:30, anchor Chris Roth talked with Craig Gilbert, longtime political writer and Washington bureau chief for Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, for analysis of Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race.

Gilbert talks about what made Johnson decide to run for a third term, passing on his promise to limit himself to two terms; whether other Republicans could have kept that Senate seat in the party; and whether Donald Trump be a factor in this election.

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