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As Sen. Ron Johnson weighs future, Trump ties take a toll | Local Government


Johnson, 65, has said in recent weeks that he has not yet made a decision.

“My bias has always been (to serve) two terms and go home,” Johnson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last month before Democrats won a pair of Georgia runoff elections to take majority control of the Senate. “That continues to be my preference, but at the same time, the Senate is kind of a firewall against total control by Democrats, which would be, I think, a very bad thing for this country.”

Johnson and his spokesperson Ben Voelkel declined to comment on his plans.

Republicans already have three Senate vacancies to defend. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rob Portman of Ohio have said they will not run again in 2022. GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who turns 89 in 2022, is also on the ballot, and two-term Missouri Republican Roy Blunt has not said whether he’ll seek a third.

If Johnson retires, it likely would be a free-for-all on both sides.

A number of Republicans are eyeing a run for either Senate or governor, depending on what Johnson does. Potential Republican Senate candidates include U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, former U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy and Kevin Nicholson, who lost a 2018 Republican Senate primary.

The list of Democratic hopefuls includes Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, the state’s first Black lieutenant governor, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and state Sen. Chris Larson of Milwaukee.



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