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Fort Calhoun businessman Clifton Johnson entered the 2014 Republican Senate race Wednesday with an email announcement invoking tea party language.

"I believe patriots of all political parties, whether R or D or I, did not sign on for fundamental transformation of the United States," he said.

In Nebraska, he said, "people still have great values, ethics, and take pride in self-reliance and the freedom and liberty our country was founded on."

What is at stake, Johnson said, is "a fight for the direction and soul of our great nation.

"The socialist express that is roaring down the tracks must be derailed now," he said.

Johnson said he would work to "drastically reduce the size and scope of government at all levels to reasonable and accountable levels."

Asked later whether he identifies himself as a candidate with tea party values, Johnson said: "I'm definitely for smaller, less intrusive government in the people's lives, promoting pride and self-responsibility.

"So, I'll throw the first barrel of tea in the harbor."

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Johnson noted that he and his wife have an 11-year-old daughter named America.

Johnson, 51, is the owner of Perfect Stay Inn and Suites in Blair and Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Already in the GOP Senate contest are former State Treasurer Shane Osborn, Midland University President Ben Sasse, Omaha banker Sid Dinsdale and Omaha attorney Bart McLeay.

Reach Don Walton at 402-473-7248 or at


Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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