Gary Johnson 2016 Presidential Candidate

Photo courtesy Gary for President

Gary Johnson Announces
Presidential Bid

| published January 6, 2016 |

By R. Alan Clanton, Thursday Review editor

Gary Johnson, a former two-term governor of New Mexico and a 2012 presidential candidate for the Republican nomination, announced on Wednesday that he will again run for President, this time as a Libertarian. Johnson had been discussing a possible run for some weeks, but made it more or less official on Wednesday morning during an interview on Fox Business News, just days after resigning from several corporate and volunteer roles.

The libertarian-conservative ran as the Libertarian Party’s nominee in 2012 (after his candidacy failed to catch fire among Republican voters), and he will now again for the Libertarian Party nomination, which holds its convention in Orlando, Florida at the end of May 2016.

Johnson is a former Republican who has frequently taken libertarian positions and views on a variety of issues. He is a strong supporter of limited government and minimal federal interference in markets and business, but he is a social liberal on many issues. He advocates a balanced budget and encourages non-intervention in foreign conflicts and opposes wars of regime-change. As governor of New Mexico he vetoed more bills in one year than all other U.S. governors combined.

Johnson is a writer, physical fitness enthusiast, businessman and millionaire. Among his major business ventures: serving until last week as president and CEO of Cannibis Sativa, a marijuana marketing and distribution firm operating in several states where marijuana is legal.

This is not Johnson’s first bid to lead Libertarian Party in a general election. He won the party’s nomination in 2012, and went on that November to pull in 1.28 million votes—far short of vote totals for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, but far more than other third parties and independent candidacies, and a high water mark in terms of total votes for the Libertarian Party.

The Libertarian Party was founded in December 1971 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has fielded a candidate for President every four years since its creation. Its first Presidential candidate, John Hospers, received one Electoral College vote in 1972. The party hit its first high-water mark in 1980, when candidate Ed Clark, and running mate David Koch, received 921,129 votes in the U.S. general election, pulling in one percent of the total votes cast. Other notable Libertarian candidates for President include Texas Congressman Ron Paul and author and financial advisor Harry Browne.

Gary Johnson served as governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003 as a Republican. He entered the GOP race for President in early 2011, but was able to participate in only a handful of debates before being disqualified for his poll numbers. After initially good polls numbers in New Hampshire proved fleeting, and unable to remain in the debates, he withdrew—later changing his affiliation to the Libertarian Party.

In 2012 he ran alongside running-mate James P. Gray. Johnson and Gray pulled in nearly one percent of the total U.S. vote (0.99%, according to the Federal Election Commission) and gathering 1,275,821 votes nationally—besting all other third party candidacies combined.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Cruz Maintains Iowa Lead; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; January 5, 2015.

Lawrence Lessig Suspends Presidential Campaign; Keith H. Roberts; Thursday Review; November 4, 2015.