On Saturday, the Chicago Tribune reported that a local GOP official in Wisconsin is warning Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) will face division and opposition within his own party if he tries to run for a third term in 2022 — in large part because he embraced former President Donald Trump's conspiracy theories about election fraud in his own state.
"'I think if the election were a week from now he would be in a world of hurt,' said Fond du Lac County Republican Party Chair Rohn Bishop," reported Scott Bauer. "Bishop criticized fellow Republicans like Johnson who parroted claims of illegal election activity, even as he remains a Johnson backer. But he notes that Johnson is at risk of losing moderate voters critical to winning. 'It may hurt him with the suburban voters ... The election wasn't stolen, and it's hard to convince people they should vote for you when you try to throw away their legally cast ballots.'"
President Joe Biden won Wisconsin by 21,000 votes, flipping back a state central to Trump's 2016 victory. But Johnson, the report noted, has continued to embrace Trumpism. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the largest newspaper in the state, has called for his resignation over his efforts to overturn the election.
As the report noted, Johnson hasn't currently made up his mind whether to run again.
"If Johnson retires, it likely would be a free-for-all on both sides," said the report. "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."