The lieutenant governor of Wisconsin is calling on the state’s Republican Senator to step down after it was revealed this week that his involvement in trying to overturn the 2020 election went farther than previously known.
The U.S. House Select Committee disclosed on Tuesday during its latest in a series of hearings about the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol last year that Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson tried to give the former vice president a list of electors who didn’t exist in order to help overturn Joe Biden’s election in 2020 and keep Donald Trump in power.
Johnson’s alleged efforts at undermining democracy are reason enough for him to resign from office immediately, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said in response to the Jan. 6 Committee’s revelation.
“Ron Johnson actively tried to undermine this democracy. He literally tried to hand Mike Pence fake ballots,” Barnes, 35, who is running to unseat Johnson, said in a statement. “Once again, Ron Johnson has proven he’s a danger to our country and our fundamental rights. I’m calling for him to resign immediately.”
The allegations lent further credence to the suspicions that Johnson was a seditious traitor guilty of treason.
Johnson, 67, said that’s not at all how it happened and downplayed his role.
“Again, I wasn’t involved, I don’t know what they said, but somebody from the House delivered it to a staff member in my office,” Johnson said this week. “My chief of staff called the vice president: ‘hey we got this,’ and the vice president said ‘don’t deliver it,’ and we didn’t.”
Despite Johnson’s denial, the Jan. 6 Committee on Wednesday began issuing more subpoenas for its ongoing investigation. The New York Times reported the development was an indication that the Department of Justice has “stepped up its criminal investigation of a plan by President Donald J. Trump and his allies to create slates of so-called fake electors in a bid to keep Mr. Trump in power during the 2020 election.”
It was unclear if Johnson was among those who received a subpoena.
The allegations could prove to be a turning point in the heated campaign for Johnson’s seat in the U.S. Senate.
Barnes on Wednesday referred to himself in a tweet as “the frontrunner in the Dem primary and in the general” and vowed “to beat Ron Johnson.”
He also tweeted polling numbers underscoring his claim.
Those numbers were consistent with a recent poll conducted by Marquette University Law School.
Jan. 6 is far from the only controversy with which Johnson has been involved.
Notably, Johnson drew criticism last year for saying during an interview that he would have been more afraid of Antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters than Trump-supporting insurrectionists at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
He followed up that by doubling down on his racism with an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal titled, “I Will Not be Silenced by the Left,” in which he dismissed systemic racism, especially in regards to Black communities and social justice issues.
That promoted Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez to brand Johnson as a “racist” who is out of touch with reality.
“Look, I get no one likes to be called racist, but sometimes there’s just no other way to describe the use of bigoted tropes that for generations have threatened Black lives by stoking white fear of African Americans and Black men in particular,” Menendez said on the Senate floor last year.
Wisconsin’s primary elections are scheduled for Aug. 9.