PSC Candidate Johnson Pleads Guilty to Driving Drunk, Suspends Campaign

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Former Montana secretary of state Brad Johnson pleaded guilty Tuesday to drunken driving and said he is suspending his campaign for a seat on the Public Service Commission.

A Broadwater County sheriff’s deputy stopped the 59-year-old Johnson on U.S. Highway 12 east of Helena on May 20. Johnson, who plans to check himself into a 28-day alcohol treatment program, has said he was driving home from Bozeman after visiting friends at a private home.

His blood-alcohol level registered 0.24 percent, three times the legal limit for driving.

The Republican will remain on the ballot because the deadline to withdraw from the primary race has passed. If he wins the June 8 primary against fellow Republican Bill Gallagher, a Helena attorney, he will have the option to withdraw from the general election.

Johnson was Montana’s secretary of state from 2005 to 2008 and was running to represent several northwestern Montana counties on the PSC, which regulates utilities in the state.