It's been a rough couple of days for Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson. First, the National Republican Senate Committee pulls back on their ads for RoJo, then the Koch Boyzzz follow suit:
A conservative group funded by the Koch brothers that is backing Sen. Ron Johnson canceled $2.2 million worth of ads it had planned to run to help the Republican in August and September, a blow to his re-election campaign as he tries to win a rematch against Democrat Russ Feingold.
Feingold has been outraising Johnson and leading in the polls in the closely watched race. Democrats are hoping to pick up the Senate seat as they try to regain majority control in the Senate.
The super PAC Freedom Partners Action Fund ran about $2 million worth of ads attacking Feingold in May. It was slated to run another $2.2 million in pro-Johnson ads over the next two months, but a Democratic media tracker said Wednesday that they had been canceled.
"We are realigning our television advertising strategy to ensure maximum impact across key Senate races," Freedom Partners spokesman James Davis wrote in an email. "We will continue direct citizen outreach through our grassroots activists, volunteer phone calls, digital media and direct mail. Last weekend alone network grassroots organizations made almost half a million contact attempts to targeted audiences."
The bad news for Johnson comes a day after he spoke in prime time at the Republican National Convention, a late-reversal from his long-held position that he was going to skip the gathering to campaign in Wisconsin. It also comes the day after the National Republican Senatorial Committee said it was delaying until October $1.3 million in ads it originally planned to run over the next two months.
To put it in perspective of just how bad this news is for RoJo:
Johnson has benefited from spending by outside groups, which had outspent Feingold's campaign by about $5 million to $1 million from the April 5 primary through late June. In addition to Freedom Partners, the ads benefiting Johnson have come from Americans for Prosperity, another Koch brothers group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Let America Work and the Judicial Crisis Network.↓ Story continues below ↓
"Senator Johnson has always relied on the Koch Brothers and these outside groups to run his campaign for him, so this must come as a disappointment for their model legislator," said Feingold spokesman Michael Tyler in an emailed statement.
To put it another way, the money that these two groups just pulled out from underneath RoJo's feet is more than a third of what he spent in 2010.
It is not surprising that these groups are pulling back on RoJo, seeing how he has consistently been lagging behind Russ Feingold in both the polls and in fundraising.
I, for one, am going to enjoy watching RoJo flail about the next few months as he goes through his political death throes.