It goes without saying incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson is among the most vulnerable incumbents facing reelection in 2016. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Johnson is facing a tough reelection fight against the man he beat in 2010 – former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold. While Johnson did beat Feingold by 5 points in 2010, Johnson had two things working in his favor that year: a conservative wave and a midterm election in which Democratic turnout was not as high as in a presidential election year.
So in order to beat Russ Feingold in 2016 – a year that looks to favor the Democrat – Sen. Johnson appears to have adopted a unique campaign strategy:
Now I’m sure you’re thinking, “No! That can’t be true! A man of Ron Johnson’s integrity would never stoop so low!”
To you I say, it’s true….very true. Here’s just one example of how Ron Johnson’s Senate reelection campaign has been copying what Russ Feingold’s campaign is doing.
JOHNSON HAS COPIED FEINGOLD’S STRATEGY TO VISIT ALL 72 COUNTIES
June 2015: Russ Feingold promised to Visit all Of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. “Feingold received a standing ovation Friday night at the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention. It was his first public speaking appearance since announcing his candidacy. Feingold told the audience he would tour each of the state’s 72 counties, listening to residents, to better understand the state.” [Associated Press, 6/6/15]
It’s also worth noting that during his time as a U.S. Senator for Wisconsin, Feingold visited all 72 of Wisconsin’s counties every year he was in office, so when he says he’s going to visit all 72 counties in Wisconsin, he really means it.
July 2015: After Russ Feingold’s June 2015 pledge to visit each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, Sen. Johnson’s reelection campaign sent out an email noting Johnson planned To “Keep Traveling To All Of Wisconsin’s 72 Counties.” [Johnson for Senate Email, 7/24/15]
July 2015: During a “Telephone Town Hall” on July 16, Sen. Johnson reiterated his promise to visit each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties this year.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “Ron, that’s makes no difference to me. I would like to sit in a room with you in my county, and I think in all 72-counties in the state of Wisconsin. You’re supposed to represent everyone in the state of Wisconsin.”
RON JOHNSON: “First all of Tom.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “Not just [INAUDIBLE].”
RON JOHNSON: “First of all, I have stopped at every county. I’ll stop at every county this year for sure.”
In addition to copying something Russ Feingold had done as a Senator and has promised to do during this campaign, Ron Johnson’s promise to visit all 72 counties in Wisconsin certainly seems like an election year gimmick, given the fact that during his first four year as Wisconsin’s U.S. Senator, Johnson held just 34 “Telephone Town Hall” calls with constituents. Sen. Johnson did hold a handful of actual in-person town hall meetings, but Johnson was careful to pick friendly locations like Osseo, Wautoma, Cedarburg, and Pewaukee to hold his in-person town hall meetings.
To read more about the follies and foibles of Sen. Ron Johnson, check out our archive.