HELENA – Former Secretary of State Brad Johnson, who was cited for driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, isn’t convinced he broke the law.
“I don’t believe I violated the law, but I still made a mistake,” Johnson said Wednesday in confirming the citation he received last Thursday.
Johnson, 59, who is seeking a seat on the state Public Service Commission, said a Broadwater County sheriff’s deputy pulled him over on U.S. Highway 12, east of Helena. He said he was driving home from Bozeman, where he had visited friends and had drinks at a private home.
His blood-alcohol level registered 0.24 on a breath test, three times the limit of 0.08 at which a person is considered legally drunk. He was also cited with failure to drive on the right side of the roadway, Sheriff Brenda Ludwig said.
Johnson said he posted bond that evening and a friend drove him home. He has not entered a plea.
“The thing that has really come out of this experience for me is that I think it’s incredibly stupid to have so much as a sip of alcohol and get behind the wheel,” he said. “I’ll never let it happen again.”
Johnson is opposed by Helena attorney Bill Gallagher in the Republican primary. The winner of the June 8 election will take on incumbent Ken Toole of Helena for the District 5 seat on the PSC.
Johnson, who served as secretary of state from 2005-2008, said he hopes voters can look beyond his arrest.
“I hope that doesn’t negate all of the service that I’ve made for the people of Montana over the years,” Johnson told Lee Newspapers of Montana. “I still want to be able to serve the people of Montana and will be a stronger person for this painful experience.”
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