Wisconsin Paper Bashes Ron Johnson, Encourages Voters to “Send Him Packing”

On Wednesday, the editorial board of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the most widely read Wisconsin-based newspaper in the state, encouraged residents to vote against Republican Senator Ron Johnson in November.

The editorial didn’t endorse Johnson’s opponent, current Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D). But the paper’s editors did say that Wisconsin voters in the 2022 midterms should not return Johnson to the Senate for another six-year term.

“For years, Ron Johnson has demonstrated that he should be retired to his family’s seaside Florida home — and not representing Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate,” the editorial board wrote. “Voters should send him packing this November.”

The centrist-leaning newspaper called out Johnson’s promotion of lies about the 2020 presidential election; his rejection of effective safety measures against COVID-19 in favor of bogus remedies; his anti-science views on the climate crisis; and his downplaying of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol building, including his office’s role in trying to forward fake electors to then-Vice President Mike Pence.

If voters value democracy, they shouldn’t vote for Johnson, the paper’s editors said.

“We cannot elect people to office who do not honor the results of elections and still expect to hold onto our democratic republic. It’s that simple,” the editorial board wrote. “Even citizens who don’t like his opponent should withhold their vote for Johnson on this point alone — to ensure our government derives its power from the consent of the governed.”

Indeed, Johnson has described the mob of Trump loyalists who breached the Capitol building and called for Pence to be hanged as “people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law.”

“If that wasn’t bad enough,” the newspapers’ editors wrote, “he added this racist remark: If the protesters had been ‘Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters,’ he said. ‘I might have been a little concerned.'”

The editorial board noted that nothing in Johnson’s record warrants an endorsement.

“You’ll notice Johnson is not touting a long record of accomplishments in his ads for re-election. Instead, he and his supporters have attacked his opponent — a Black man — as ‘different’ and ‘dangerous,’” the editorial board pointed out.

The editorial concluded by comparing Johnson to disgraced Republican Joseph McCarthy.

“Ron Johnson is the worst Wisconsin political representative since the infamous Sen. Joseph McCarthy,” the editorial board said. “Johnson in the past promised to serve no more than two terms. Voters should hold him to that pledge in November.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial left out some of Johnson’s more recent controversies — including his belief that there shouldn’t be a federal minimum wage and that the solution to the supposed “labor shortage” is to coerce retirees back into the job market.

Johnson is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbent senators in this year’s midterm races. Polling shows that he is currently slightly ahead of his challenger, but not by much; according to a CBS News/YouGov poll conducted earlier this month, Johnson has just a 1-point advantage over Barnes. This difference is within the survey’s margin of error, meaning the candidates are statistically tied.