Sen. Ron Johnson was victorious last night in his reelection bid over Democratic opponent and progressive icon Russ Feingold. The race was essentially a rematch of the 2010 campaign when then three-term Feingold has beaten by Johnson…the first time. Last night at around 11 P.M. EST, the major news outlets made the call. Ron Johnson had won reelection.
Because Johnson is a political darling of the vaping community, this is especially good news. “RJ” is the acting Chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, one of the most powerful positions in Congress. He’s also the guy on Capitol Hill who keeps writing all those nasty letters on behalf of the vaping industry to the FDA over their contentious deeming regulations. Thanks to last night’s victory, we still have an ally in the Senate, and a very influential one, at that.
Ron Johnson’s bumpy ride
Just a few short months ago in August, Sen. Johnson’s political future was looking rather bleak. Johnson is a Republican, and the now President-Elect Donald Trump was making things very difficult for him in his home state of Wisconsin. Johnson’s constituents were divided on Trump. They either loved him or hated him, and RJ didn’t know whether to continue endorsing Trump or not. Russ Feingold appeared to be coasting to an easy victory.
The Anti-Trump backlash was threatening many Republican down-ticket races, and Johnson’s was at the very top of the list. He was running out of money, and he needed a quick influx of cash to compete with Feingold and his seemingly endless amounts of Democratic cashflow. Thankfully, Billionaires Charles and David Koch stepped in at the very last minute and gave Johnson a $1 million campaign contribution, which is rather strange because the Kochs refused to take sides in this election.
Johnson beats Feingold with 50 percent of the vote
In the last weeks of the campaign, Sen. Johnson received another $20 million in donations which he used to soften his image with a series of creative television commercials. Johnson was trying to paint himself as the “ultimate outsider” to Feingold’s “crony politician” even though RJ was technically the current incumbent. It paid off on November 9 when Johnson walked away with 50 percent of the votes to Feingold’s 47 percent. Libertarian candidate Phil Anderson made up the difference.
Now that the campaign is over, the vaping community can breathe a short, collective sigh of relief. We don’t have to start all over again with the letter-writing campaign to the FDA. Johnson is still on the case, and he plans to deliver. Let’s just make sure that he does.