Ron Johnson’s Finances, Abortion Stance Targeted in New Ads (1)

(Adds more on Johnson’s abortion position starting in 11th paragraph.)

Bloomberg Government subscribers get the stories like this first. Act now and gain unlimited access to everything you need to know. Learn more.

A super political action committee aligned with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will begin airing two ads today in Wisconsin targeting Republican Ron Johnson’s finances and stance on abortion.

The Senate Majority PAC is spending $3.5 million, in one case with another group, on the two ads in the competitive race, which the nonpartisan Cook Political Report with Amy Walter rates as a toss-up.

Johnson, who is seeking a third term, is the most vulnerable Republican incumbent and faces Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. Johnson led Barnes 49%-48% among likely voters — within the margin of error — in a Marquette University poll released yesterday. Barnes led Johnson 52%-45% last month in the same poll.

The Senate Majority PAC joined with End Citizens United/Let America Vote to spend $1.9 million on the ad on Johnson’s finances, which alleges he has enriched himself since arriving in the Senate. It’s the first time the group aligned with Schumer (D-N.Y.) has partnered on an ad with the organization, which is focused on campaign finance and voting issues.

“The only ones profiting are oil companies, big corporations, China, and Ron Johnson,” says a woman in the ad, while shopping in a grocery store. She also alleges that Johnson “makes money from investments and factories in China.”

Screenshot of ad by Senate Majority PAC and End Citizens United/Let America Vote on Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)’s finances.

The ad cites a Guardian report that Johnson made $57 million while in the Senate in connection to his ownership stake in a company linked to China. A Johnson spokesman said in the Guardian report that the senator had no connection to his family company’s interactions with Chinese companies.

The Senate Majority PAC abortion ad, backed by $1.6 million in spending, features a young woman from Wisconsin discussing Johnson’s support for overturning Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to access abortion.

“Ron Johnson supported the Supreme Court decision outlawing abortion in Wisconsin—even for victims of rape and incest,” the woman says.

“It changes your whole world — I know because I was a victim myself,” she says in the ad.

Abortion has been a consistent theme in Democratic advertising since the Supreme Court’s decision in June reversing Roe v. Wade, which Johnson called “a victory for life and for those who have fought for decades to protect the unborn” in a June 24 news release.

Johnson campaign spokesman Alec Zimmerman pointed to more recent comments about how abortion should be handled at the state level, including his support for exceptions for rape, incest, of the life of the mother.

The senator told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he’d recommend holding a referendum for Wisconsin voters to determine whether and how to modify an 1849 state law banning nearly all abortions.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kenneth P. Doyle in Washington at kdoyle@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Loren Duggan at lduggan@bgov.com; Michaela Ross at mross@bgov.com

Stay informed with more news like this – from the largest team of reporters on Capitol Hill – subscribe to Bloomberg Government today. Learn more.

Top