Hanging with Gary Johnson

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to hangout for a few days with former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson while he was visiting Georgia for the state Libertarian Party convention.

As you may know, Gov. Johnson left the Republican Party just after Christmas to seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president. During his run for the GOP nod, Gov. Johnson was excluded from all but two debates, and when he did get to participate, he wasn’t treated as a serious candidate.

The treatment of Johnson was certainly odd. He has more executive experience than any of the other candidates seeking the Republican nomination. Moreover, he has a solid resume, including a stellar fiscal record; as evidenced by his scores from the Cato Institute and the fact that he vetoed 750 bills — more than the other 49 governors combined.

In fact, I still don’t quite understand why the Tea Party movement couldn’t get behind Johnson, who was clearly the most fiscally conservative candidate running for the GOP nomination. He was, or should have been, their candidate. A limited government Republican that had a proven record of winning in a two-to-one Democratic state.

I had planned to vote for Gov. Johnson in the March 6th Republican primary. His fiscal record and consistant support for personal liberty made him the best candidate in my eyes. When he dropped out, I planned to vote for Rep. Ron Paul.

Back at the beginning of the month, I accepted the role of state director in Georgia for Gov. Johnson’s campaign, which included preparing for his visit — booking media and events for him to speak at, etc.

I hate to say it, but when I was first tasked with this, I was worried that media was going to be difficult to come by given my experience with Libertarian Party candidates. We actually ended up having a pretty full schedule all three days he was here.

During our breaks between interviews and events, I had the opportunity to chat with Gov. Johnson. I found him to be down to earth and very humble. I don’t mean to sound surprised by that, but for someone so goal-driven and with such an impressive resume, it was a breath of fresh air to meet such an authentic person.

I was also very happy to see that his trip to the Peach State was such a success. We were able to get some decent media, including coverage in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Athens Banner-Herald. Gov. Johnson also managed to easily won the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s presidential post-debate straw poll with 79% of the vote.

I follow politics quite a bit and often deal with legislators in Georgia. My experiences with them are mixed, but many are arrogant and happy with “being there” as they become addicted to the smell of the marble. Rarely do you meet a politician that is interested in, you know, actually dealing with real problems facing the state or country.

With Ron Paul unlikely to win the Republican nomination, the Liberty Movement will continue to be represented, and represented well, in the fall by Gov. Gary Johnson.

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