A Day After Forcing Marathon Bill Reading, Johnson Says 'Preference' To Leave Senate


The day after he single-handedly delayed the U.S. Senate’s debate on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill for 11 hours, Republican Senator Ron Johnson said on Friday that he could retire from office when his term expires.

The two-term Republican told Wisconsin media outlets that he has not decided whether to run for reelection in 2022 but added that not seeking another term is “probably my preference now.”

Johnson, a Trump ally, recently drew widespread criticism by peddling a debunked conspiracy theory that leftists posing as Trump supporters played a role in the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Political analysts say his seat could be vulnerable to Democrats next year.

The 65-year-old Republican, who was first elected to the Senate during the Tea Party surge in 2010, had pledged to spend only two terms in the Senate.

“That pledge is on my mind, it was my preference then, I would say it’s probably my preference now,” Johnson told reporters. “I’m happy to go home.”

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But he added a caveat. “I think that pledge was based on the assumption we wouldn’t have Democrats in total control of government and we’re seeing what I would consider the devastating and harmful effects of Democrats’ total control just ramming things through,” the Wisconsin State Journal quoted him as saying.

(Reporting by David Morgan and Makini Brice; Editing by Scott Malone and Daniel Wallis)

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