MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s Senate race is going retro nine weeks before Election Day with Republican Sen. Ron Johnson revisiting a successful ad he ran in 2010 when he knocked off Democrat Russ Feingold.
Johnson is hoping that revisiting his eye-catching whiteboard ad will help him close the gap in the tight race and win re-election. The ad, slightly updated for the rematch with Feingold, began airing Tuesday.
Feingold has consistently been ahead of Johnson in public polling. But the latest Marquette University Law School poll released last week showed the race narrowing to about even, with Feingold at 48 percent and Johnson at 45 among likely voters. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.
Johnson’s latest television ad once again shows the senator in front of a whiteboard, just like a spot he ran in 2010. Johnson notes that 54 senators are lawyers and he is the only manufacturer. In 2010, Johnson pointed out that there were 57 lawyers in the Senate and no manufacturers.
Johnson used to run a plastics manufacturing company in Oshkosh before beating Feingold in 2010 and joining the Senate in 2011.
In the new ad, Johnson says Feingold is just another career politician but “fixing this broken system will take the perspective of someone who’s actually solved problems. Thirty one years in manufacturing taught me how.”
Johnson campaign spokesman Brian Reisinger wouldn’t say how much was being spent on the ad, other than “it’s phase one of a multi-million-dollar ad blitz for the fall.”
Feingold spokesman Michael Tyler said that Johnson can “lecture the people of this state in TV ads all he wants, but Russ is the only candidate actually listening to and fighting for Wisconsin’s middle class and working families.”
Tyler accused Johnson of “recycling an old ad” while “protecting a system that benefits powerful corporations and multi-millionaires like himself.”
This story has been corrected to show Feingold at 48 percent and Johnson at 45 percent among likely voters in the latest Marquette University Law School poll, instead of the reverse.