Why Did Senate Candidate Ron Johnson Turn His Back on Madison?

Sep 15, 2010

WisDems Release New Web Ad Showing Ron Johnson Running From Reporters, Turning His back On Questions About Dodging Debates 


MADISON — Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Ron Johnson, who has already dodged a dozen debate opportunities in the primary campaign, announced yesterday that he was dodging three more debates with Russ Feingold this year, including the unprecedented move of dodging the “We the People,” debate scheduled for Oct. 22 in Madison.

Feingold accepted six debates proposed by media organizations around Wisconsin, but Ron Johnson continued his trend of dodging debates. Johnson is believed to be the first candidate to run a statewide campaign to refuse the “We the People” debate, which has an 18 year history and is sponsored by a host of news organizations, including Wisconsin Public Television.

Johnson gave no public explanation yesterday for why he was dodging the debate, nor did Johnson explain why he was dodging a debate Oct. 18 that was sponsored by his hometown newspaper, the Oshkosh Northwestern, and hosted at the Grand Opera House.

“Ron Johnson has been running scared, dodging debates in the primary and hiding from reporters because he’s an extremist who will put Republican Party politics ahead of Wisconsin,” said Mike Tate, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “Ron Johnson owes it to the people of Wisconsin to get off the sidelines, stop hiding behind his $4 million ad campaign and have a debate on the issues that matter to the voters.”

When asked by reporters about debates, Johnson cut and ran yesterday, refusing to answer questions and claiming he had somewhere else to be. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has released a new Web ad highlighting Johnson’s refusal to explain why he turned his back on Oshkosh.

The Web video also highlights the extremist statements Ron Johnson is trying to run away from, including his suggestions that Communist China is better for business than the U.S, (WSJ 9/1/10) his opposition to the Recovery Act and extending unemployment aid (Wisconsin Public TV 6/11/10) and his statements supporting shipping American jobs overseas as “creative destruction.” (WisPolitics 7/26/10)

In addition to refusing to debate in Eau Claire, Dave Westlake, Ron Johnson’s former opponent, told WISN’s Mike Gousha Sunday that he was disappointed Johnson turned down multiple invitations to debate during Johnson’s four months on the campaign trail:

“We’ve had twelve opportunities to debate Ron Johnson and he has turned down every single one of them. And that, I think is just unfair to the people of this state. The people of Wisconsin deserve to be able to hear both the candidates side by side…”


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