Jim Johnson, a Democratic candidate for New Jersey governor, had his first television campaign ad air during a commercial break from “Saturday Night Live” this weekend — but he isn’t a stranger to the long-running NBC sketch comedy show.
Well, at least his name isn’t.
In 1996, then-President Bill Clinton appointed Johnson, then the undersecretary for the U.S. treasury department, to co-chair the National Church Arson Task Force in the wake of a rise in reported arsons at houses of worships.
The following year, Johnson’s task force released a report — and Norm MacDonald mentioned it during the “Weekend Update” segment on “SNL.”
“A report by Assistant Treasury Secretary Jim Johnson shows that the arrest rate for church arsons is more than twice the national average for arsons in general,” MacDonald said.
Then, in a trademark bit, MacDonald pulled out a tape recorder and started speaking into it.
“Note to self: Start setting fire to something other than churches,” he joked.
— Jim Johnson (@jimjohnsonnj) March 11, 2017
Twenty years later, Johnson, now 56, is running a dark-horse candidacy for the Democratic nomination to succeed Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
You can see him below discussing his 1997 report: