Mandela Barnes vs. Ron Johnson
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and US Sen. Ron Johnson

National Republicans and many other groups will also spend big in Wisconsin to prop up the GOP’s most vulnerable reelection target.

Using Sen. Ron Johnson’s own words from one of his very first campaign ads, national Democrats released a new digital ad Tuesday night to make the case that the businessman who promised change in 2010 has instead hurt Wisconsin by becoming part of the Washington establishment.

The ad was released by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) as it became official that Johnson and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes would face off in November, as the two-term Republican seeks the third term he promised in 2016 not to pursue.

“After 12 years in Washington, Ron Johnson has lost touch with Wisconsin,” the ad begins. It then outlines six- and seven-figure donations from oil and pharmaceutical interests over the years as Johnson voted against measures that would have brought relief to gasoline and drug prices paid by Wisconsinites.

When the ad points out Johnson’s defense of outsourcing American jobs overseas, it brings up a Johnson sound bite from earlier this year certain to be played repeatedly over the next 90 days.

“It’s not like we don’t have enough jobs here in Wisconsin,” Johnson said while defending his unwillingness to ask Oshkosh Corp. to put about 1,000 new jobs in Oshkosh—Johnson’s hometown—instead of South Carolina, where it wants to build 165,000 new vehicles for the US Postal Service.

The ad also makes mention of an expanded business tax break he demanded be included in a 2017 tax overhaul—one he acknowledged benefited himself financially. 

In closing, the ad shows Johnson in 2010—during his first campaign for office—standing at a whiteboard. Johnson’s words at the time are now turned back on him, with the DSCC claiming it’s Ron Johnson who “is costing us jobs and hurting Wisconsin families. It has to stop.” Earlier Tuesday, the DSCC unveiled three additional political spots targeting Johnson—part of a $3 million ad buy in Wisconsin and $33 million worth of advertising nationwide reserved by the Senate Democrats back in April.