Wisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans

Wisconsin Republicans are waiting anxiously for Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) to make a decision on whether he will run for reelection and are quietly considering backup plans in case he doesn’t run.

Johnson made national headlines last week when he told conservative commentator Lisa Boothe that he did not think he was the best candidate for 2022, leading many to ask whether this was foreshadowing a retirement.

“I believe that he, in his heart I’m not so sure he wants to run, but at the end of the day he doesn’t want to turn everything over to [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.),” Wisconsin state Assembly Leader Robin Vos (R ) told The Hill. “He’s probably the strongest candidate that we have.”

Other Wisconsin Republicans point to Johnson’s popularity among the conservative base in the state and recent fundraising efforts as signs he is leaning toward running.

“I would recommend to everybody to not underestimate Ron Johnson,” Wisconsin-based GOP strategist Brandon Scholz told The Hill. “He is very much in tune with what he wants to do and when he wants to do it.”

Johnson raised $1.2 million in the second quarter of this year, outraising the growing group of Democratic Senate hopefuls in Wisconsin. Johnson had a cash-on-hand total of $1.7 million going into July after the latest Federal Election Commission filing.

Others remain skeptical that Johnson is leaning toward running, pointing to a lean staff. The Republican only has a finance director on the political side right now. Six years ago at this point, Johnson had a full staff, including a campaign manager and a communications team.

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