Republican Johnson Mulls Presidential Run as Libertarian

Tuesday, 29 Nov 2011 12:54 PM

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Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who hasn’t made much of a splash in his campaign for the Republican nomination for president, is considering a third-party run as a Libertarian.

“It’s exciting, the notion that by doing that I could be on the ballots of all 50 states in the general election and getting to continue to talk about a message,” he told reporters in Santa Fe Monday during a Capitol Report interview.

Story continues below video.



Political observers had considered Johnson’s combination of views an ill fit for a Republican presidential run. His unwavering fiscal conservatism earned him praise from the Club for Growth, which calls his record on taxes “excellent,” noting that he succeeded in cutting the state income tax, despite having to work with a liberal legislature. But Johnson also proposes legalizing marijuana and supports abortion rights.

Roger Stone, a longtime Republican strategist and a Johnson supporter, told the Daily Caller website that Johnson’s running as a Libertarian would “pose a great danger for the Republicans” if they were to nominate Mitt Romney, whose mixed record on taxes and spending would have many voters considering an alternative.

Johnson has complained that he has been allowed to participate in only two GOP candidate debates. His efforts to get assistance from the Republican National Committee (RNC) ended last week with the RNC’s chief counsel writing Johnson that he does not exhibit a “minimum indicia of viability” such as support in the polls and the ability to raise money.

Johnson said Monday that he’s throwing in the towel on New Hampshire because he doesn’t expect to get a significant number of votes in that first-in-the-nation primary.

But he also said he’s not sure when he will decide whether to drop out of the Republican race or whether to run under the Libertarian Party flag.

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