Since his election four years ago, state Rep. Mike Johnson from Pineville has received emails, texts and phone calls meant for U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson from Shreveport-Bossier City.
On more than one occasion, Gov. John Bel Edwards called state Rep. Johnson thinking he was calling U.S. Rep. Johnson.
“He was very kind, but it was obvious he had no issue to discuss with me,” state Rep. Johnson said.
Attorney General Jeff Landry, now the governor-elect, has made the same mistake.
But being the other Mike Johnson in Louisiana politics became a lot more complicated last week when U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson suddenly became Speaker Mike Johnson, second in line to the presidency.
State Rep. Mike Johnson received a flood of emails, a torrent of texts and an avalanche of calls to his office phone congratulating him on his supposed promotion.
He also received another set of calls.
“They bordered on threatening and were certainly degrading,” said state Rep. Johnson. “Some of them were full of profanity and full of hatred. Those who didn’t like the other Mike would say we were dumb hicks.”
For those who left their names and numbers, “It was fun to call those back.”
“If you have to be confused with someone else with the same name, I’m glad it’s him,” state Rep. Johnson added.
The two Mike Johnsons don’t look alike on paper or in photographs.
U.S. Rep. Johnson grew up in Shreveport, graduated from LSU as an undergrad and as a law student and became a constitutional lawyer representing anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ+ rights groups. Elected to the state House in 2015 and Congress in 2016, he is married, has four children and now lives in Benton in Bossier Parish.
U.S. Rep. Johnson is 51 but appears younger, despite his graying hair.
State Rep. Johnson grew up in Pineville in central Louisiana, graduated from Louisiana College and from Southern Law School and became an attorney in his hometown. Elected to the state House in 2019, he is married, has two children and lives in Pineville.
State Rep. Johnson is 64 and has gone full gray.
But news sites have sometimes mixed up the two in photographs.
Where the two resemble each other is in their politics. Both are arch-conservatives with views shaped by a deep Christian faith.
Over the past four years, the two Mike Johnsons have had fun over getting mistaken for each other.
At the annual fishing tournament for elected officials at Grand Isle this year, state Rep. Johnson was given a name tag for U.S. Rep. Johnson.
State Rep. Johnson was photographed wearing it — something that U.S. Rep. Johnson saw on social media.
“I hope you came in first,” U.S. Rep. Johnson texted. “I have a name to preserve.”
Responded state Rep. Johnson: “I’m about tired of carrying you.”
State Rep. Johnson’s mother would receive compliments at church about her son’s latest appearance on Fox News — only to have her say it was actually U.S. Rep. Johnson they had seen.
“But toward the end she just let it go,” said state Rep. Johnson of his mother, Nell Johnson, who died in October 2022.
A high school English teacher showed up at his legislative office in Pineville last week with a cake to congratulate him on becoming speaker.
“It was heartbreaking to have to tell her that I was a state representative,” state Rep. Johnson said.
He could tell she was disappointed. How did he know that?
When she left, she took the cake.