Ron Johnson, a wealthy business executive and leading Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin this year, is beginning to receive scrutiny for his far right views. He has been criticized recently for opposing an anti-sex offenders bill, the Child Victim Act, and for saying that he is “glad there’s global warming.” Last month, when asked if he would support drilling for oil in the Great Lakes, Johnson — who owns more than $100,000 in BP stock — replied, “I think we have to, get the oil where it is.” At a town hall on Wednesday in Howards Grove, Wisconsin, ThinkProgress asked Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) — who was sporting a Ron Johnson for Senate bumper sticker — if he agreed with Johnson’s support for Great Lakes oil drilling. Petri said he personally hasn’t supported Great Lakes drilling, but seemed genuinely baffled by Johnson’s radical views, and refused to comment:
TP: Ron Johnson, the Senate candidate here in Wisconsin, says he opposes the drilling moratorium and he even goes as far as saying he wants drilling everywhere, even possibly the Great Lakes. Would you support that kind of position?
PETRI: Well I haven’t but I don’t know the details of what exactly is being talked about and I sort of hate to respond to someone else’s characterization of an individual’s position without knowing what they actually said myself.
Anti-government, anti-regulation radicals running for U.S. Senate this year have shocked even GOP lawmakers with their political positions. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who helped Kentucky Republican Rand Paul win his primary earlier this year, was surprised to learn of Paul’s opposition to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights act, when asked by ThinkProgress. DeMint said he would have supported the Civil Rights Act, quickly distancing himself from Paul.