Ronald 'Ron' Harold Johnson

Contact Information

Telephone:202-224-5323 (Main phone number)
Telephone:920-230-7070 (Main campaign number)
Campaign finance

Candidate Background

Birth place:Mankato, MN
Residence:Oshkosh, WI
First Elected:2010


Next Election:2016

Undergraduate education: University of Minnesota


Ron Johnson was born in Mankato, Minn., and currently lives in Oshkosh, Wis. He earned a bachelor's degree in business and accounting from the University of Minnesota.

Johnson joined Pacur LLC, an Oshkosh-based maker of plastic packaging materials that was founded by his brother-in-law. He eventually became the president of the private company. He was also a member of the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce.

He had no prior political experience before running for U.S. Senate in 2010. With the backing of the tea party, he defeated Sen. Russ Feingold, a three-term Democratic incumbent, by 5 percentage points.

Johnson and his wife, Jane, have two daughters and a son.


Ron Johnson had no prior political experience when he challenged the Democratic incumbent, Sen. Russ Feingold, in 2010. He played the situation to his advantage, positioning himself as "a 30-year entrepreneur" going up against a career politician.

Johnson was an early underdog, but with tea party support and $8.7 million of his own money, he won the race by 5 percentage points.

Johnson was part of a conservative wave that washed over the state. Behind Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman and a former Wisconsin party chairman, the GOP also won two congressional seats, took the governor's office and captured both chambers of the state Legislature.

Johnson focused his campaign on two issues — repealing the 2010 health care reform bill and lowering taxes. He also said he wants to see Congress impose spending caps on the government.

As a senator he joined with Republicans and Democrats in Wisconsin and Minnesota on legislation that cleared the way for construction of a new four-lane bridge spanning the St. Croix River between the two states. The three-year project is expected to begin in 2014 and is estimated to cost between $571 million and $676 million.

In 2011, he lost out on a Senate GOP leadership position, in a secret ballot that was seen as a test of tea party clout. The post of vice chairman of the GOP conference, the fifth-most senior position in the party's caucus, went to Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, one of the most established Washington Republicans.

Also in 2011, he co-sponsored a bill that would require an inspector general investigation into any company that receives federal money for renewable energy and then goes bankrupt. The measure was a response to the bankruptcy of Solyndra Inc., a California maker of solar panels.

Johnson was the first Republican senator to call on U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign after the New York Democrat admitted texting sexually charged messages and photos to at least six women and lying about it. Johnson said he wished Weiner would resign "to get that story off the front page." Weiner did eventually step down.

With gas prices hovering near $4 nationwide in the spring of 2011, he said there might be legitimate reasons to maintain subsidies for oil companies. In some cases, he said, subsidies might have been designed to encourage forms of exploration that could increase the oil supply and ultimately bring down prices.

He was one of seven Republicans who toured Afghanistan and Pakistan in early 2011. He said he came away from the experience "far more hopeful" and said the U.S. had made more progress than people back home were aware of.

Johnson rose to political prominence after giving a number of speeches at tea party rallies in early 2010.

He entered the race less than six months before the election. He said he was compelled to run after health care reform passed in March 2010, legislation he repeatedly called "the greatest assault on freedom in my lifetime."

In conservative fashion, he calls for reducing spending by reducing the size of government and opposes "blanket amnesty" for illegal immigrants.

Committee Assignments: Budget; Appropriations; Aging; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

American Conservative Union Rating: 100

Americans for Democratic Action Rating: 5


Ron Johnson is not up for re-election in 2014.

(Last updated by The Associated Press on August 14, 2014.)

Last updated 3:16pm March 1, 2018