Through social networking sites, Republican candidate for secretary of state Bill Johnson frequently shares his views on national issues even if they aren’t pertinent to being Kentucky’s chief election officer.
After U.S. stocks tumbled by 633 points Monday, for instance, Johnson quickly went on Twitter and blamed President Barack Obama for the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeting below 11,000 for the first time since 2008.
Besides taking on Mr. Obama, who is a favorite GOP target in the commonwealth, Johnson has complained about the “liberal press” and the now-defunct activist group ACORN. Johnson has also shared his view against abortion and denounced any compromise on raising the country’s debt ceiling, which was recently passed through Congress.
“The government is spending $100 billion more each month than they receive in revenues. Just say no. No new taxes. No deficit spending. No debt increase. No big government. No compromise,” Johnson wrote on his Facebook page in July. “The only option I support is to immediately cut spending to match revenues. C’mon conservatives, it is time to stand on the line for what we believe.”
Johnson campaign manager Kathy Stocks says the majority of the campaign’s online messages deal with issues about the secretary of state office such as the election process and business filings, but she added voters want to know the Todd County businessman’s views on myriad issues nationally.
“That is strictly voicing his conservative views politically, just letting people know where he stands on all of the issues because he gets a lot of questions in those regards,” says Stocks. “He’s a very passionate conservative and he voices that whenever he has the opportunity. And he feels people who are true conservatives—as he is—should voice their opinion no matter what the issue might be.”
Early polling had Johnson trailing Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes by 11 points, but showed 24 percent of likely voters undecided. Asked if the Johnson campaign is trying to nationalize the race and tap into the president’s unpopularity to gain support, Stocks says it isn’t being done on purpose.
“The risk we’re willing to take is to get the issues out there and make sure people understand where he stands conservatively on all of the issues whether it has to do with state or national issues,” she says. “It’s just a matter of debate.”