Sen. Ron Johnson tops list of Republicans endorsed by top Jewish GOP organization

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FIRST ON FOX: The political wing of a top grassroots group that represents Jewish Republicans across the country is endorsing GOP Sen. Ron Johnson as he runs for re-election this year in the crucial battleground state of Wisconsin.

And the Republican Jewish Coalition’s (RJC) PAC, in an announcement shared first with Fox News on Wednesday, also backed nine House GOP lawmakers and four congressional candidates as it made its second round of endorsements ahead of November’s midterm elections, when Republicans aim to win back majorities in the House and Senate.

Johnson, a conservative senator first elected in the 2010 Tea Party-fueled red wave and a strong supporter of former President Trump, announced in January that he would run for a third term. Democrats view Johnson as vulnerable, and he’s one of the most heavily targeted GOP senators running for re-election this year. 

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., takes his seat for the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation Subcommittee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022. 
(Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The race in Wisconsin is one of a handful that could decide which party will control the Senate next year. The chamber’s currently split 50/50 between the two major political parties, but the Democrats hold the majority thanks to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris through her constitutional role as president of the Senate. That means the GOP needs a net gain of just one seat to reclaim the majority it lost when it was swept in the January 2021 twin Senate runoff contests in Georgia.

In the House, Republicans need a net gain of just five seats in the 435-member chamber to win back the majority they lost in the 2018 midterm elections.

The RJC is also endorsing Republican Reps. David Schweikert of Arizona (AZ-01), David Valadao of California (CA-22), Andy Harris of Maryland (MD-01), Peter Meijer of Michigan (MI-03), Don Bacon of Nebraska (NE-02), Yvette Herrell of New Mexico (NM-02), Nicole Malliotakis of New York (NY-11), Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania (PA-01) and Nancy Mace of South Carolina (SC-01).

Mace was one of the earliest supporters of Trump’s successful 2016 campaign to win the White House. But while the freshman House lawmaker didn’t vote to impeach Trump 14 months ago, she did publicly say that his rhetoric leading up to the storming of the Capitol “put all of our lives at risk.”

Rep Nancy Mace, R-S.C., speaks with reporters at the U.S. Capitol Building on Oct. 21, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

And in October, Mace was the lone South Carolina Republican to join congressional Democrats in voting to hold former Trump White House senior aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the riot at the Capitol. 

Trump has repeatedly lashed out at Mace and is backing Republican Katie Arrington – who is primary challenging the congresswoman. Trump took aim at Mace and once again praised Arrington at a rally on Saturday in South Carolina.

The RJC is also endorsing Republican congressional candidates Esther Joy King of Illinois (IL-17), Monica De La Cruz (TX-15) and Wesley Hunt (TX-38) of Texas, and Derrick Van Orden of Wisconsin (WI-03).

In making the endorsements, RJC executive director Matt Brooks told Fox News that “we need Republicans in Congress who will fight for America’s freedom, security, and prosperity, and who support our ally, Israel. The RJC PAC enthusiastically supports these GOP incumbents and challengers, who will help Republicans take back the House and Senate majorities and will bring much-needed sanity back to Capitol Hill.”

Noting that the RJC’s PAC raised over $10 million in the 2020 cycle for its endorsed House and Senate candidates, Brooks emphasized that “the RJC PAC had a significant impact in 2020 and will continue to make a difference in highly competitive races like these. The candidates we are endorsing today are talented, principled, dedicated public leaders whose elections are top priorities for the GOP in 2022.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference at The Rosen Shingle Creek on Feb. 25, 2022, in Orlando, Florida.
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Wednesday’s endorsements are the second batch this cycle by the RJC. Its PAC last year endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Reps. Carlos Gimenez (FL-26) and Maria Salazar (FL-27) of Florida, and Reps. Mike Garcia (CA-25), Young Kim (CA-39) and Michelle Steel (CA-48) of California.

The RJC is a nearly four-decades-old group that describes itself as “the national grassroots organization of Jewish Republicans and represents tens of thousands of Jewish Republicans across this country.”

The late Republican mega donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who died at age 87 in January of last year, for years played a key leadership role with the RJC and gave it generous financial support.

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