Gary Johnson, a former two-term Governor of New Mexico, announced this morning that he is leaving the field for the Republican nomination and switching parties to seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination next May in Las Vegas.
Despite his stellar fiscal record and support for limited government, Johnson struggled to be included in the Republican debates; only appear in two out of nearly two dozen. Many debates set criteria for inclusion based on polling, which was unfortunate for Johnson since he was often not included in many of these surveys. Johnson had been flirting with this idea for some time, making it a horribly kept secret.
Johnson winning the Libertarian Party’s nomination isn’t a sure thing. He’ll have to go through the process like the rest of the candidates. He’ll also face scrutiny because he was Republican.
In case you haven’t seen the statement from the campaign, here is what was e-mailed out to supporters less than an hour ago.
By now, you have probably heard the news.
This morning, I stepped before the microphones at a news conference in the New Mexico capitol and announced that I am seeking the Libertarian nomination for President of the United States. The Libertarian Party nominee will be on the ballot in all 50 states – as was the case in 2008.
It 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 since watching how I governed in New Mexico, I am a Libertarian - that is, someone who is fiscally very conservative but holds freedom-based positions on many social issues.