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Feingold-Johnson race pegged as toss-up

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says Wisconsin voters will have a "real choice" in 17-and-a-half months.

That's when the first-term Republican stands for re-election against likely Democratic nominee Russ Feingold. Feingold held the U.S. Senate seat for 18 years before Johnson unseated him in 2010.

On Thursday, Feingold announced he'll try to win that job back. Johnson has admitted that he faces a tough re-election battle.

The non-partisan Cook Political Report calls it one of four toss-up contests for the Senate next year -- and one of just two in which a Republican is the incumbent.

Feingold did not mention Johnson in the video he released announcing his candidacy. He did mention some of his previous concerns about big-money political influence, and concerns Wisconsinites have about their "economic well-being."

Johnson, on the other hand, took direct aim at Feingold. The Oshkosh businessman said he was creating jobs when Feingold was building Washington into what Johnson called the "gigantic, debt-ridden, tax-eating, unresponsive, and freedom-quashing government we have today."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said both candidates sent out fund-raising appeals to their supporters yesterday.