Republicans ‘privately roll their eyes’ at Republican Ron Johnson’s bizarre antics: report
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Controversial Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is considered something of a kook, even among Republicans as he faces re-election in Wisconsin during the 2022 midterm elections, according to a new report.

In a new story for The New Republic titled, "Can the Democrats Take Out Ron Johnson?" writer Daniel Strauss noted, "Johnson has spent the last year in the Senate questioning the efficacy of vaccines amid a global pandemic, indulging in conspiracy theories about border security, and eschewing the traditional steps a candidate takes ahead of an election—as of this article’s writing, he hadn’t announced whether he would run for reelection, as most senators do."

If Johnson runs in 2022, it will be against the backdrop of the Republican audit of the 2020 vote in Wisconsin led by state Speaker Robin Vos.

"Even within the Republican Party, Johnson is known for his disdain for authority and the establishment," Strauss wrote. "After Johnson won, he continued to nurture a grudge against then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, technically not the head of the NRSC but effectively the final word on those decisions. Johnson has at times ticked off Republican Senate leadership since then, as when he announced he was undecided on an Obamacare repeal and replace bill. He’s also bucked his own party on an overhaul of the tax system, citing how the Senate and House versions treated certain businesses. It was just another headache from Johnson for Republican leaders."

READ: 'He never used to be this insane': MSNBC panel piles on Ron Johnson

On Tuesday, Johnson escalated his attack on vaccines as the spread of the omicron variant shuts down schools and has resulted in thousands of canceled flights.

"When he was first elected, he seemed to be just another fiscal hawk Republican. Now he’s a perfect encapsulation of the type of Republican who dives deep into misinformation and debunked science. Generally, Republicans shrug off Johnson’s antics as his brand," Strauss noted. "But when pressed, Republicans privately roll their eyes at Johnson. They concede that his statements on Covid are nonsensical and dangerous, but they also see him as seeking approval mainly from the activist and oftentimes fringe base of the Republican Party."

Democrats seeking the seat include Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Milwaukee Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry, and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson. Johnson is considering running for re-election even though he vowed he would only serve two terms.

Read the full report.