Report: Gary Johnson to announce Libertarian Party presidential bid

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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Americans who favor the legalization of marijuana and same-sex marriage, and also want a balanced federal budget and a more restrained foreign policy, now appear to have an alternative to the two major parties in 2012.

On Tuesday evening, Politico reported that former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson would end his GOP presidential bid and run for president instead as a Libertarian Party candidate.

The official announcement will reportedly be made in Santa Fe on Dec. 28. Neither The Daily Caller nor Politico was able to directly corroborate the news with Johnson.

In a text message Tuesday evening, Johnson told TheDC that the speech would be on “my political future” and that “no announcement has been made to this point.”

Pressed on whether the Politico report was false, Johnson responded, “we havent said anything.”

Johnson would not be the first Republican politician to serve as the Libertarian Party’s candidate for president — in 2008, former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr was the party’s nominee, and in 1988, it was Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who is currently seeking the Republican nomination.

Johnson served two terms as New Mexico governor, from 1995 to 2003, and was widely regarded as a veto-friendly chief executive committed to fiscal restraint.

Perhaps best known nationally for advocating the legalization of marijuana in the late 1990s, Johnson leapt into the Republican presidential field earlier this year. His campaign, however, failed to break out of the low single digits in polls and he was excluded from most televised debates.

Various well-known Americans expressed interest in his candidacy, notably marijuana enthusiast and musician Willie Nelson and Lt. Dan Choi, who was discharged from the military because of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Johnson discussed what a “hypothetical” Libertarian Party run would look like earlier this month with TheDC. He said that he would like to have veteran GOP strategist Roger Stone on board for the campaign, and would seek to represent a message that “has broad appeal” but few political champions.

His libertarian philosophy embraces the Second Amendment and a woman’s right to chose whether or not to have an abortion. Johnson told TheDC that he would expect to deprive President Obama of as many votes as he would the GOP nominee.

Paul, who has been performing in the top tier of GOP candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire polls, has also been considered a possible third-party candidate, though he has played down the speculation.

The Libertarian Party presidential nominating convention will be held in Las Vegas in May.

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