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Democrat announces 2022 bid for Ron Johnson's seat

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson on Monday announced a run for the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOvernight Defense: Joint Chiefs warn against sweeping reform to military justice system | Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal | National Guard may have 'training issues' if not reimbursed Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal Overnight Defense: Senate panel delays Iraq war powers repeal | Study IDs Fort Hood as least-safe base for female soldiers | Pentagon loosens some COVID-19 restrictions MORE (R-Wis.), becoming the first Democrat to enter what is expected to be a crowded 2022 race.

In an ad posted on YouTube Monday morning, Nelson accused Johnson and other Republican senators of mismanaging the United States' response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There's just no help in sight," Nelson says. "And people like Ron Johnson have made this worse."

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“Who gets tested for COVID and then goes to a party and puts people at risk?” he adds, referring to Johnson's attendance at a GOP fundraiser while he was awaiting test results for COVID-19, which were later positive.

Northeast Wisconsin, where Nelson serves as county executive, has faced surging rates of new COVID-19 infections in recent weeks. The state reported 3,778 new cases on Sunday, a rate of new infections that is now far higher than it was at any other point this year.

Nelson filed paperwork officially launching the bid last week, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Johnson has not yet announced his plans for 2022.

"Ron Johnson is focused on getting things done and keeping Wisconsin red this fall. Anything 2022 is premature," a spokesman told the Journal-Sentinel.

Johnson was reelected to office last in 2016, narrowly beating former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) by a margin of 50.2 percent to Feingold's 46.8 percent.