Politicians often rail against other power-hungry colleagues. However, even those lawmakers with the best intentions have a difficult time relinquishing their own positions when the time comes.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) will renege on his 2016 promise not to run for reelection after his second term, Fox News reported. Though Johnson has not made his plans official, sources close to the matter have confirmed the announcement could come as soon as next week.
Johnson made his vow while running against Democratic challenger Russ Feingold in 2016, according to the Baraboo News Republic at the time. He told voters if he won reelection that year, he would step down at the end of his second term.
His point in making that promise was to set himself apart from a career politician like Feingold. Now that his own time in office is coming to a close, Johnson is singing a different tune citing concerns over Democrats’ control of both Congress and the White House.
“That’s certainly one of the things that’s weighing on my mind,” Johnson told his local Fox affiliate. “If you’re in a position to offer some improvement, help the situation out, would you just walk away?”
Perhaps that fact that his prospects for reelection are solid could have something to do with the decision as well. Wisconsin only narrowly went for President Joe Biden in 2020 and likewise was a close victory for former President Donald Trump in 2016.
Moreover, Johnson has criticized Biden, likely hoping to parlay the president’s shortcomings into a solid platform for his own reelection. “It’s accurate to call the Biden administration incompetent, but that’s way too kind,” Johnson said. “These are their policies, the results of their policies were obvious from the start, and now Americans are waking up to it.”
If Johnson decides to run, voters will have a say in whether they’re bothered by his previous promise or not. Though breaking campaign promises is nothing new for politicians, it’s never a good look for the GOP.