Incumbent Ron Johnson Runs As Outsider As GOP Defends Senate

Incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., faces one of the toughest re-election fights of any Republican in the U.S. Senate for 2016. His race is one of several that will determine whether the GOP keeps its majority.

Johnson's campaign expects the race will be too close to call right up through Election Day, as he faces a rematch against his 2010 opponent, former Sen. Russ Feingold.

Johnson's team wants to prove his 2010 election during a wave of Tea Party-led victories was not a fluke, and for voters in Wisconsin to perceive him as the upstart outsider.

The most determinative factor in the Wisconsin Senate race, however, may have nothing to do with Johnson's tenure in office. His chances are inextricably tied to the 2016 presidential campaign, and the GOP nominee in particular.

Wisconsin's governor, Scott Walker, announced his campaign for president on Monday night and the positive attention he receives could boost Johnson and other Republicans' chances at home.

Ford O'Connell, a GOP strategist, said he believes Democrats hope Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign will drag Feingold over the finish line.

"If Clinton is running plus 15 in Wisconsin, Ron Johnson is toast regardless of how great he is," O'Connell said. "Walker will have a tougher time winning in Wisconsin than Johnson would… but their fates would be tied together [if they are both on the ballot]."

Read more from Ryan Lovelace at The Washington Examiner

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