Terror Issue Boosts Ron Johnson Senate Re-Elect Bid
According to most reputable political prognosticators — and they happen to be correct — GOP Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) are the two most vulnerable Republican incumbents.
From his perch on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, however, Johnson has the inherent built-in ability to help shape the campaign narrative with a laser-like focus on terror and national security issues.
And he is doing so.
Most polls have Johnson down about 8-10 points, and hovering around 40-42% against the dovish Feingold. Johnson is indeed still behind, but if terrorism and national security issues continue to dominate news headlines from around the world through the summer and into the fall — as is likely — Johnson can make this race a toss-up.
Feingold will try to just break even on terror issues, and attempt to redefine “security” as a discussion about ‘retirement security’ and ‘job security’ — ostensibly a better plane of discussion for him. Johnson’s challenge is to fight retirement and job security issues from an offensive stance — not a defensive crouch.
A smart campaign can do that, and his consultant team is excellent.
And of course, the presidential contest shapes the contours of the Senate race, and a Trump or Ted Cruz at the top of the GOP ticket would likely hurt Johnson, not help him (albeit many GOP colleagues would disagree with me).
But the bottom line is Johnson cannot control the presidential contest, while he can control his Senate re-elect message and news making.
As of January 2016, Johnson is maximizing his incumbent messaging, and his recently completed in-state tour focusing on security coupled with his persistent official Committee activities regarding terrorism will go a long way to helping him “make his own luck” come election day.