Round II: Ron Johnson vs. Russ Feingold

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (left) and Democratic challenger Russ Feingold, who held the seat until 2010, face off in their second and final debate of the 2016 election. (Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (left) and Democratic challenger Russ Feingold, who held the seat until 2010, face off in their second and final debate of the 2016 election. (Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (left) and Democratic challenger Russ Feingold, who held the seat until 2010, face off in their second and final debate of the 2016 election. (Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (left) and Democratic challenger Russ Feingold, who held the seat until 2010, face off in their second and final debate of the 2016 election. (Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Ron Johnson, the Republican incumbent, and his Democratic challenger, Russ Feingold, made a number of claims about each other in their Oct. 18, 2016 debate that we’ve rated previously.

Here’s a look at four of those statements, made at their second and final debate in Milwaukee.

The rematch of their 2010 U.S. Senate election is on Nov. 8, 2016.

(We also checked statements made in their first debate.)

Johnson: Feingold voted 11 times against authorizing the military.

Our rating: Half True.

During his 18 years in the Senate, Feingold did vote 11 times against the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual bill that authorizes defense spending levels and covers policy issues such as gays in the military. The 11 votes indicate a pretty clear pattern.

But those were not votes to defund the military, given that appropriations bills provide funding. And experts told us conclusions can’t be drawn about why a lawmaker votes no on the NDAA, given that sometimes lawmakers oppose it because of certain policy provisions.

Moreover, lawmakers on both ends of the political spectrum, including ex-military conservative Republicans, have voted against it over the years.

Feingold: Johnson has said he wants 100,000 troops to fight ISIS, including 25,000 U.S. troops.

Our rating: Half True.

When we rated that statement, in January 2016, Johnson said he favored sending foreign and American troops to Iraq and Syria in an effort to defeat ISIS there. He said he had heard experts say the effort would require 100,000 troops, including 25,000 from the United States. He indicated he might support those levels, or perhaps 10,000 American troops, but didn’t go so far as to call for any particular numbers.

Johnson: Feingold broke his promise to raise most campaign money in Wisconsin.

Our rating: True.  

Feingold used the words "pledge" and "promise" in 1992 while asserting his grassroots funding plan was for that election as well as "for the future." Feingold has failed to keep his promise.

Not only that, he claims he never said the pledge applied going forward, despite video evidence to the contrary.

Feingold: Johnson doesn't want federal minimum wage.

Our rating: True.

It may not be a position Johnson has stated often, but when asked in July 2014 whether there should be a federal minimum wage, Johnson said there should not be one, other than perhaps one for guest workers.

And while he may not be trying to repeal the wage, Johnson didn’t dispute the accuracy of Feingold’s claim -- that he is against having a federal minimum, except perhaps for guest workers coming in from outside the United States.
 

More on the Senate race

Johnson on the Truth-O-Meter

Feingold on the Truth-O-Meter