Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson claimed on Friday never to have been to Washington, D.C., before deciding to run for office.

Johnson, the Tea Party-backed candidate challenging Sen. Russ Feingold (D) in Wisconsin, said that he's such a Washington outsider that he'd never been to the nation's capital.

"I've never been to Washington, D.C.," Johnson told CNN in a profile piece, "until this election."

And during this election cycle, Johnson said, he'd only been to D.C. three times.

"I've gone three times just to familiarize myself, you know, meet with some groups," he said. "That's it."

Johnson is giving the three-term Feingold the challenge of his career by railing against the liberal Democrat as an establishment politician. Bolstered by GOP tailwinds, polls show Johnson as being consistently in charge of the race. A CNN/Time poll conducted Oct. 8-12 found Johnson leading 52-44 percent among likely voters, with a 3.5 percent margin of error.

Feingold said Friday that he's making up ground, and that polls would begin to reflect that soon.

"As of this moment, I am no longer behind," the senator said. "See, Washington always has to catch up with the reality on the ground in Wisconsin."