Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said Friday his preference is probably retiring after his current term.
Johnson is in his second term; he pledged previously that this term would be his last.
“That pledge is on my mind, it was my preference then, I would say it’s probably my preference now. I’m happy to go home,” Johnson told media outlets in a call.
“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,” he added.
Democrats control the White House in addition to both chambers of Congress. The party is currently pushing a COVID-19 relief package through Congress with no Republican support by utilizing a budget process that enables simple majority votes in the lower and upper chambers.
Speaking on WTMJ radio on Friday, Johnson said both that he hasn’t decided yet whether to run again and that he feels a decision isn’t required soon.
“The only people who want me to decide right now are consultants, and particularly the consultants of other people who may want to run for the U.S. Senate seat, they’d like to start raising money and start making money right off the bat,” Johnson said. “I think it’ll save everybody a lot of money by just holding tight and making a decision when I’m ready to.”
Johnson noted that he didn’t decide to run the first time until about six months before the election.
“That seemed to work out pretty well. These elections are way too long, they spend way too much money. And in the last couple cycles, some of these U.S. Senate seats have cost $100 million dollars. That is grotesque, it is absurd. And it’s money primarily all wasted. So I’ll save everybody a lot of money. And I’ll make my decision when I think I need to,” he said.
The seat Johnson holds has become the focus of a number of Democrats.
Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry, Outgamie County Executive Tom Nelson, and radiologist Gillian Battino have announced bids for the seat.
“What we all too often, I think, see in Washington is people talking about the problems rather than actually trying to do something about it,” Lasry said in his launch video.
No Republicans have launched bids as of yet.
Johnson is in the middle of battling in the Senate against the Democrats’ COVID-19 relief bill.
The $1.9 trillion package, put together by lawmakers based on a proposal from President Joe Biden, has received virtually unanimous opposition from the GOP, who don’t like many of the provisions it’s laden with, such as funding to states and local governments.
Johnson forced the Senate clerk to read the entire 600-page bill, and was leading a scheduling effort so that shifts of Republicans could offer hundreds of amendments to the package.
Work was continuing on the package early Saturday, after the Senate worked overnight. A vote was expected on Saturday.