SANTA FE, N.M. — Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson told a news conference on Wednesday that he officially is dropping out of the Republican presidential race to run for the nation's highest office as a Libertarian.
As a long-shot candidate for president, Johnson had proposed cutting government spending, reducing taxes, and legalizing marijuana.
As governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, Johnson vetoed so many bills — some 750 — that he was later nicknamed "Governor Veto."
Johnson, a mountain climber, skier, and bicyclist who lives in Taos, had indicated weeks ago that he would run as a Libertarian.
In his statement today, he said: "This was both a difficult decision — and an easy one. It was difficult because I have a lot of Republican history, and a lot of Republican supporters. But in the final analysis, as many, many commentators have said after examining how I governed in New Mexico, I am a Libertarian — that is, someone who is fiscally very conservative but holds freedom-based positions on the issues that govern our personal behavior.
"Frankly, I have been deeply disappointed by the treatment I received in the Republican nomination process. I had hoped to lay out a real Libertarian message on all the issues in the Republican contest. The process was not fair and open.
"This election is about issues larger than party or personal ambition. The future of our country is at stake.
"I believe this election needs a true Libertarian voice. While Ron Paul is a good man and a Libertarian who I proudly endorsed for president in 2008, there is no guarantee that he will be the Republican nominee.
"My Agenda for America, a Libertarian agenda, is clear. It is not at an agenda you will hear from any other candidate or party.
"I want to end deficit spending and cut federal spending by 43 percent.
"I want to enact the Fair Tax to stimulate real economic growth and job creation.
"I want to end the manipulation of our money by the Federal Reserve.
"I support the Second Amendment and oppose gun control.
"I oppose expensive foreign wars in places like Libya and Afghanistan where our national interest is not clear.
"I want to cut the over-regulation of our families, our businesses and our lives.
"I support a woman's right to choose.
"I support marriage equality for gay Americans, as required by the Constitution.
"I support the legalization of marijuana, which will save us billions and do no harm.
"I demand a government free of special interest influence, crony capitalism and corruption.
"I support returning strict adherence to constitutional principles to our government."
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