The self-described Reagan Republican says that while Republicans have in the past made mistakes while they've held the House majority, the GOP deserves another chance at controlling the power of the purse.
"I'm 69 years old, and the point I make is if Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States at 69, if people can elect him to do that, then the people of 8th district can hopefully elect me at 69 to be their congressman," Johnson said. "We thought we could spend our way to popularity and prosperity, and it did not work. And my message basically to the American people, to the people in the 8th district, is give us another chance."
While Johnson has stumped across the state, he said he has been struck by how many Democrats have come out to support his campaign.
"I'm amazed at the number of Democrats that have come up to me and said, 'Harold, I couldn't do anything for you in the primary, but I'm going to vote for you in November.' And I shake their hand, I thank them, and I look them in the eye, and say, 'Please don't tell me that unless you mean it,' and they look at me and they say they mean it," Johnson said.
"I know a lot of Democrats," he said. "I know a lot of good Democrats, and the Democrats that I know in North Carolina in the 8th District are not the same Democrats that are running Washington right now like Nancy Pelosi and Larry Kissell and the rest of that liberal group up there that are taking us over a cliff."
Election analysts say Kissell's campaign has been hurt by poor fundraising efforts and say Kissell's 2008 victory relied heavily on the coattails of the Barack Obama presidential campaign.
Twenty-eight percent of the district's population is African-American, and voter turnout figures to be lower during the congressional midterm election Nov. 2.
"I'm going to apply everything I've learned and every ounce of energy I have to making this country better," Johnson said. "I'm not going up there to better myself. I'm not going up there to work for a lobbyist group after I'm through with these politics.
"I hope that I can be part of the 112th Congress that we can look back on in 20 years or whatever and say, 'You know what, the 112th Congress House of Representatives started the change in America and put America's beacon back on the bright light. And that's what we need right now. The beacon is cloudy. We need to clean up the beacon and make it shiny again."