MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson says tea party followers are "not crazies."
Johnson made the comments Monday at a luncheon sponsored by a political website. He is challenging Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold.
Johnson owns an Oshkosh plastics business and is a newcomer to politics. He joined the race in May after speaking at two tea party rallies.
Johnson was asked Monday if he would form a tea party caucus in the Senate if elected.
He says he "kind of sprung out of the tea party" movement and has "very warm feelings about people in the tea parties."
He says, "they're not crazies." He calls them patriotic Americans concerned about out-of-control spending.
Johnson says he has no idea if he would start a tea party caucus.