Filed Under: Politics

Rep. Dusty Johnson weighs in on historic midterm election spending

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The 2022 election is expected to be the most expensive midterm election in history for state and federal races, according to OpenSecrets. The nonpartisan group projects spending will surpass $16.7 billion by Election Day. 

Federal candidates and outside groups are expected to spend $8.9 billion, well beyond the inflation-adjusted $7.1 billion spent in 2018. State candidates, party committees, and groups supporting ballot measures are on track to raise $7.8 billion, outpacing the inflation-adjusted $6.6 billion raised in 2018. 

“I hate the campaigns as much as anybody does. But I think if we’re going to have these robust elections in swing states, they’re going to be expensive,” South Dakota Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson told Straight Arrow News. The lawmaker noted that politicians spending trillions of dollars in D.C. may not be fiscally responsible, but it’s necessary.

“When you’ve got these high-profile Senate seats like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, Georgia, it’s hard to tell the candidates, gosh, even if somebody wants to give you 100 bucks, ‘Don’t spend it on radio ads,'” Johnson said.

Spending has picked up as Republicans and Democrats have battled on the issues of the economy and abortion. Johnson said he predicts a variety of different solutions brought forth at the state level. 

“Politics is not a spectator sport. And I think you’re seeing across this country, that people are really fed up with inflation,” Johnson said. “They’re fed up with a border that allows 2 million people to illegally cross that border every single year. And frankly, they don’t like the violent crime is on the rise in cities. And those sort of highly emotional issues are driving up motivation.”

RAY BOGAN: The 2022 election is slated to be the most expensive midterms on record spending. This cycle is set to surpass 16 point 7 billion in state and federal elections, according to analysis by OpenSecrets. Through November 1, more than 7.5 billion has been spent on federal races, open secrets expects spending on national races to be just shy of 9 billion, easily surpassing the inflation adjusted 2018 midterm record of 7.1 billion. Joining us now to discuss spending campaigning and policy is Congressman Dusty Johnson, a Republican representing South Dakota’s at large district. Thanks so much for being here. Now, I don’t want to pin this on you, but politicians on both sides of the aisle like to talk about responsible government spending, and Americans who work multiple jobs to pay their bills, but then turn around and pump billions to to win a majority in an election. Is that responsible spending from people who run our government?

REP. DUSTY JOHNSON (R-SD): Well, I would say when the politicians are spending trillions of dollars in DC that is not responsible when it comes to campaigns, you do need to be able to get your story out there. And I certainly don’t spend millions on my races here in South Dakota. But when you’ve got these high profile Senate seats like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, Georgia, it’s hard to tell the candidates, gosh, even if somebody wants to give you 100 bucks, don’t spend it on radio ads. I hate the campaigns as much as anybody does. But I think if we’re going to have these robust elections in swing states, they’re going to be expensive.

BOGAN: Now, I want to want to ask a couple of questions on policy. Now first, on the economy, if Republicans win a majority, what can they do to help the economy especially considering that whatever you pass has to go through a Senate that may or may not be controlled by Democrats, and regardless has to be approved by the President?

JOHNSON: Well, the biggest economic problem we have by far is inflation. And there are three things we’ve got to do to get inflation under control. And I actually think there’s some good chances of getting this done, even in an era of divided government. Number one, we have to stop with the trillion dollar social spending packages, and a Republican House would be able to stop that on their own. Secondly, we have got to bring down the price of American energy. There is a growing bipartisan consensus on that just last month, I helped Republicans and Democrats pass a bill out of the house, that’s going to put their next billion gallons of homegrown American fuel into the supply chain. Now we do have to get Joe Biden to sign that bill, we got to get the Senate to pass it. But I’m optimistic. And then finally, we have got to get Americans back to work, we still have 3 million fewer full time workers today than we did three years ago. That is an area we have got to try to work with the Democrats to get done. Because this economy is not going to fully recover until we get people back to work.

BOGAN: Now on abortion, polling shows that Americans want women to have access to abortion, but with restrictions. So what consideration is being given to addressing abortion in Congress? And specifically, is there support in the Republican caucus for a nationwide abortion ban?

JOHNSON: Well, I think there is a fair amount of support within the Republican conference in the house to do something more to protect life. Yeah, I think there are I mean, when you look at the developed countries, I think there are only three of them, who don’t have abortion restricted up to 15 weeks, which is the proposal that Senator Graham has laid out. So that kind of proposal is not outside of the mainstream, it’s very standard across most of the globe. And now that being said, I don’t know that that kind of idea would get 60 votes in the Senate to break the filibuster. So that means that every state is going to have an opportunity to decide for themselves. When does life begin to what is it? To what extent is life in the womb worthy of protection? That’s really what the Supreme Court did. It told these states that, hey, we’re going to return this to democracy, state legislatures, and voters are going to get to decide these important decisions. And I think we’ll see a variety of different solutions brought forth at the state level.

BOGAN: Now I want to talk a little bit about motivation here. This isn’t your race, but you’ll see the point in a second. There was a Monmouth University poll released recently out of Georgia. The general poll showed that Senator Raphael Warnock was ahead by about five points. But then let’s talk about motivation and enthusiasm. It showed that in when you talk about extremely motivated vote voters, Raphael Warnock was only ahead by one point. And then when you talked about more enthusiastic voters, it actually showed that Herschel Walker took an 11 point lead over Raphael Warnock so I want to ask based on your expertise is Someone who has campaigned. What is the difference between getting someone to agree with you, but then also getting them motivated enough to get to the polls and vote for you?

JOHNSON: That is exactly right. I mean, listen, you can have supporters, but if they don’t go to the polls, then it doesn’t matter. I mean, their views just don’t have an impact on how this government is run. Politics is not a spectator sport. And I think you’re seeing across this country, that people are really fed up with inflation. They’re fed up with a border that allows 2 million people to illegally cross that border every single year. And frankly, they don’t like the violent crime is on the rise in cities. And those sort of highly emotional issues are driving up motivation. They’re driving up enthusiasm for Republican candidates, and I think tomorrow is going to be a pretty substantial repudiation of Joe Biden’s agenda.

BOGAN: Congressman dusty Johnson of South Dakota, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for having me.

The 2022 election is expected to be the most expensive midterm election in history for state and federal races, according to OpenSecrets. The nonpartisan group projects spending will surpass $16.7 billion by Election Day. 

Federal candidates and outside groups are expected to spend $8.9 billion, well beyond the inflation-adjusted $7.1 billion spent in 2018. State candidates, party committees, and groups supporting ballot measures are on track to raise $7.8 billion, outpacing the inflation-adjusted $6.6 billion raised in 2018. 

“I hate the campaigns as much as anybody does. But I think if we’re going to have these robust elections in swing states, they’re going to be expensive,” South Dakota Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson told Straight Arrow News. The lawmaker noted that politicians spending trillions of dollars in D.C. may not be fiscally responsible, but it’s necessary.

“When you’ve got these high-profile Senate seats like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, Georgia, it’s hard to tell the candidates, gosh, even if somebody wants to give you 100 bucks, ‘Don’t spend it on radio ads,'” Johnson said.

Spending has picked up as Republicans and Democrats have battled on the issues of the economy and abortion. Johnson said he predicts a variety of different solutions brought forth at the state level. 

“Politics is not a spectator sport. And I think you’re seeing across this country, that people are really fed up with inflation,” Johnson said. “They’re fed up with a border that allows 2 million people to illegally cross that border every single year. And frankly, they don’t like the violent crime is on the rise in cities. And those sort of highly emotional issues are driving up motivation.”

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