The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee decided Wednesday it would hold off on launching advertisements in Feingold’s senate race against incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.
This is a major blow for Johnson.
This lack of funding suggests Johnson isn’t considered a threat at the national level, and there isn’t really a reason to think otherwise. In the senate, the only thing Johnson has gained attention for recently was his right to try bill, but even that was blocked. His name recognition in Wisconsin is abysmal and the tea party movement isn’t strong enough to bring him to reelection.
The latest Marquette poll shows Johnson trailing Feingold 41 percent to 47 percent in a two-way race. Among registered voters, the gap is the same, but with 46 percent in favor of Feingold and 40 percent in favor of Johnson.
While Johnson tried to play off the remarks, saying “this race remains as tight as ever,” that is not the case. The gap between Feingold and Johnson has doubled since the last Marquette poll, moving from a three-point Feingold advantage to a six-point spread. That is outside the poll’s 4.4 percent margin of error.
Though Feingold’s DSCC payments have been postponed, there is plenty of money flowing into his campaign from dark money groups. No sole group is devoted to promoting Feingold, but the League of Conservation Voters has spent $500,000 on his behalf. With this spending, the DSCC’s contributions aren’t really necessary. Instead, they’re a signal as to the national feel of a candidate. They must feel pretty good about Feingold’s chances if they’re delaying his funds.
Of course, by no means does this signify that the senate race is over, especially with a six-figure ad from the super PAC Reform Wisconsin Fund planning to slam Feingold. This should definitely worry the Johnson campaign.
Aaron Reilly ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in social work and economics.