Why He Matters
A political neophyte who refers to Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" as his "foundational book," Johnson entered the political world by speaking at an October 2010 tea party event. Though his political views keep him from being identified as a true tea party candidate, he remains a classic conservative on most issues. For Johnson, the 2010 health-care reform bill, or the "greatest assault on our freedom in my lifetime," served as the impetus to enter the 2010 Senate race when he unseated Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.).
Founder of a plastics company manufacturer, Johnson benefitted when the expected GOP standard-bearer dropped out of the contest. He then started blasting Feingold as a big-spending liberal who was out of touch with Wisconsin voters, dumping $4.4 million of his personal fortune into the race along the way.