The Gary Johnson-Ron Paul combination in the 2012 Republican presidential primary is causing quite a conundrum for the GOP’s libertarian wing. The two candidates have strikingly similar pro-freedom platforms, leading observers to question which candidate will garner the most support.
So far, both Johnson and Paul have said publicly that a race that includes two libertarian-leaning candidates will draw more attention to the right issues.
“First of all, having a couple people talk about the same thing, I think, is really powerful. I mean, that’s a good thing,” Johnson told The Daily Caller in an interview earlier this year.
Pundits and commentators have espoused several theories on how the two campaigns will work together — or against one other. One is that the two will tag-team, coordinating and building off their respective campaigns.
In an interview with TheDC on Wednesday, however, Johnson put that theory to rest.
“Given that it is what it is, I have to view it as a positive,” said Johnson when asked about Paul’s candidacy. “Ultimately this is about the issues and the fact that we’re bankrupt.”
But when asked if the Gary Johnson campaign is working with or has had any contact with Paul’s camp, Johnson replied, “No, no contact.”
“So in that context, he’s just another potential candidate.”
The question, though, continues to be whether the Republican presidential primary process is big enough for two libertarian candidates. When it comes down to the numbers, Paul is the one who registers on most presidential polls and has higher name recognition.
Paul also has a fundraising advantage. So far this year, Paul has reportedly raised at least $3 million that can go toward a presidential campaign.