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Senate Democrats “Charging Out The Gate With Ads Targeting Ron Johnson,” “Paint Johnson As An Out-Of-Touch Politician”

NBC News: “Democrats attempt to paint Johnson as an out-of-touch politician”
Bloomberg: “Democrats target GOP incumbent on Trump tax breaks, abortion”
UpNorthNews: “The businessman who promised change in 2010 has instead hurt Wisconsin by becoming part of the Washington establishment”

News coverage is highlighting how Senate Democrats are “charging out the gate with ads targeting Ron Johnson” as “an out-of-touch politician” – hitting him hard on his “votes for Trump-era tax breaks and opposition to abortion rights” and ensuring voters know that “the businessman who promised change in 2010 has instead hurt Wisconsin by becoming part of the Washington establishment.”

See for yourself:

NBC News: Democrats attack Ron Johnson over tax breaks and abortion in salvo of primary day ads
The ads attempt to paint Johnson as an out-of-touch politician who has spent so much time in Washington that he’s dishing out tax breaks to his donors and himself.
By Natasha Korecki
August 9, 2022

  • Democrats aiming to protect their majority in the Senate are jumping into the general election arena. They’re rolling out new TV and digital ads Tuesday attacking two-term Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.
  • The ads, provided to NBC News, are the first in the Wisconsin general election funded by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), which has already reserved $3 million in the race for the fall.
  • The out-of-the-gate attacks offer a glimpse into the strategy Democrats are employing in their attempt to derail Johnson’s quest for a third term. In them, Democrats attempt to paint Johnson as an out-of-touch politician who has spent so much time in Washington that he’s dishing out tax breaks to his donors and himself.
  • In the TV ad, a narrator takes on the tone of a salesman hawking goods as he accuses Johnson of helping his donors benefit from a tax bill. 
  • “Tired of Washington politicians not working for you? We’ve got a solution — with three easy payments of $1 million, Ron Johnson will work for you! Just ask these billionaires!” the narrator says. “They donated a fortune to Johnson and he delivered a $215 million tax break for them. That’s right, $215 million. Johnson even threw in a tax break for himself. Don’t miss this opportunity, call now.”
  • The tax break is a reference to a ProPublica investigation in 2021 that reported Johnson had held out voting yes on the 2017 Republican tax break bill until a more generous deduction was allowed for business owners. The report, citing tax records of some of Johnson’s donors, stated the move potentially saved billionaire donors tens of millions of dollars — and in some cases, much more.
  • Earlier this year, Johnson told supporters plainly that both his business, a plastics enterprise he helped found in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and his donors likely benefited from the bill.
  • The DSCC is running two new digital ads, one that also discusses the tax break issues and another that takes on abortion in which a narrator says, “He doesn’t understand your family, or care about you.”

Bloomberg: Democrats Target GOP Incumbent on Trump Tax Breaks, Abortion
By Ken Doyle
August 9, 2022

  • Sen. Ron Johnson‘s votes for Trump-era tax breaks and opposition to abortion rights are featured in national Democrats’ first general election ads against the Wisconsin Republican.
  • The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee launched a mix of TV and digital ads Tuesday, as Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes was set to formally become the Democratic nominee.
  • Both parties view Johnson as the most vulnerable GOP incumbent as he seeks re-election in a state Joe Biden narrowly won in 2020.
  • The TV ad, produced in a style reminiscent of a 1980s commercial, says Johnson “delivered” a $215 million tax break for billionaires who gave him big campaign donations, while also benefiting personally from the tax break.
  • “Tired of Washington politicians not working for you?” the ad’s announcer asks. “We’ve got a solution. With three easy payments of $1 million, Ron Johnson will work for you.”
  • One digital ad also focuses on Johnson benefiting from the tax break. The other says Johnson “doesn’t care” about the consequences of Wisconsinites losing the right to have an abortion.

UpNorthNews: National Democrats Already Charging Out of the Gate with Ads Targeting Ron Johnson
By Pat Kreitlow
August 9, 2022

  • 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.
  • “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.
  • 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.”

The Hill: Campaign Report – Ad Watch
By Julia Manchester, Caroline Vakil, and Max Greenwood
August 9, 2022

  • Democrats’ Senate campaign arm is out with three ads hitting Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), considered one of the most vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection in November, over 2017 tax legislation passed under the Trump administration, which Johnson supported and says his business benefited from.
  • The ads, which include one TV ad and two digital ads, will be running statewide in Wisconsin and are part of $33 million that they set aside for advertisements ahead of November.

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