Via Cap Times:
As is often the case in statewide elections in Wisconsin, November’s U.S. Senate race between GOP Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is forecasted to be among the tightest in the country.
Democrats and election analysts see the seat held by Johnson as one of the most flippable in the nation — a pick-up that could be key to Democrats maintaining their majority. Republicans, on the other hand, see getting Wisconsin’s senior senator reelected as critical to regaining control of the Senate.
The race will likely attract tens of millions of dollars in spending from the campaigns and outside groups, with the candidates and political action committees already booking TV time.
But unlike other “toss-up” Senate races in places like Georgia, Nevada and Arizona, it is a Republican incumbent that is trying to fend off a challenger.
Johnson has served since 2010. A multimillionaire, he rose to prominence during the Tea Party movement in the years after former President Barack Obama was elected, and has spent his time in the Senate voting for tax cuts — mostly for corporations — and against the Affordable Care Act.
After the 2016 election, Johnson became an outspoken ally of former President Donald Trump, who last week urged a crowd of a couple thousand to reelect Johnson at a rally in Waukesha.
“I also need to ask you to vote for a very good friend of mine and a special man,” Trump said of Johnson last week. “He’s one of the most respected people in the Senate. He has done an incredible job and he’ll take unpopular positions if they’re right. His name is Sen. Ron Johnson. Get out and vote for Ron Johnson.”
As the Republican party lurched to the right, embracing conspiracy theories about elections and COVID-19 vaccinations, Johnson also began to peddle falsehoods. Late last year, for example, he suggested a “standard gargle” of mouthwash “has been proven to kill the coronavirus,” despite mouthwash manufacturers and medical experts saying studies haven’t shown the practice to be effective.