New Ron Johnson Ad Highlights Business Background

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Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson’s campaign released a new ad Wednesday morning highlighting his humble roots and business background. 

Johnson, in a rematch against former Sen. Russ Feingold — who served 18 years in the Senate before losing to Johnson in 2010 — has made his background as a small business owner with private sector experience one of the key components of his message to voters.

The ad, which focuses entirely on Johnson and makes no mention of his opponent, starts with a shot of the lawmaker in a factory, talking about his work history. 

“Not many people start at the top; most of us start at the bottom. I sure did,” he says. "At age 15, I started washing dishes at a Wallgreens grill for $1.45 an hour, the minimum wage."

It then shows him in a factory of the small plastics business he started.

"Not only did I help install this machine, I also operated it, working 12-hour shifts at night,” Johnson continues. "As the business grew, we added machines and created more jobs. Now I’m working hard to keep Wisconsin prosperous and America safe."

Johnson’s campaign has worked hard to tout his personal and business background, introducing himself to voters as he runs his first Senate re-election race. Though Johnson is the incumbent, he’s less known among voters than Feingold. In a Marquette poll released earlier this month, 40 percent of voters said they had a favorable opinion of the former senator, while only 26 percent didn’t know enough about him to form an opinion. For Johnson, 33 percent viewed him favorably while 35 percent didn’t know enough about him.

Feingold leads Johnson by 7.7 percentage points in the RCP polling average.

The new ad, part of a $1.3 million TV buy for the month of June, is the second in a series. The first ad, released at the start of the month, highlighted Johnson’s work for his small business, and his work as a job creator.

James Arkin is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at jarkin@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesArkin.

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