Gary Johnson Rules Out Third Party Bid, Bets Big on NH

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson told CNN on Thursday that he has no intention of seeking the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in 2012.

“The idea of getting elected actually appeals to me more,” said Johnson, who will appear on CNN’s “John King, USA” tomorrow night.

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia polled 523,686 votes, or 0.4% of the national total, as the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president in 2008.  

The party’s strongest showing in a presidential election occurred more than thirty years ago when Ed Clark, a corporate lawyer with liberal social views not unlike those of the former New Mexico governor, garnered an eye-opening 921,299 votes, or more than one percent, in the 1980 race for the White House.

Acknowledging that his moderate views on social issues probably won’t play particularly well in the socially conservative Iowa caucuses — the setting of Mike Huckabee’s dramatic first-place showing in 2008 — Johnson said that he’ll focus instead on making a strong showing in New Hampshire, site of the first-in-the-nation primary.

Johnson, who announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in Concord, New Hampshire, on April 21, believes that his relatively moderate views on abortion and gay marriage stand a much better chance of resonating in the Granite State than in a place like Iowa, which experienced a heavy turnout by evangelicals in the 2008 Republican caucuses.

 Evangelical Christians accounted for a remarkable six in 10 GOP caucus-goers that year.

One Comment

  1. Peter Gemma says:

    I’m not sure the definition of ” relatively moderate views on abortion and gay marriage” means Johnson’s case.

    New York magazine profiled GJ in an article (4/11) entitled “Guy Who Backs Abortion, Pot Legalization, and Gay Rights Running for GOP Nomination.” On ABC’s “Top Line” (4/22/11) he said “I support gay unions. I think the government ought to get out of the marriage business.” When asked about abortion in a Playboy magazine interview (5/2) he stated “It should be left up to the woman.” The Daily Caller (9/12/2010) reported “To scattered applause — and a few audible boos — Johnson said, ‘I suggest that legalizing marijuana will make this country a better place.’”

    You may agree, disagree, or sympathize with his forthright stands, but you can’t split hairs to categorize him as “relatively moderate” on social issues—”relatively moderate” as compared to ???

    Look, the guy’s a libertarian and proud of it—don’t qualify him to tiny pieces.

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