Former Gov. Gary Johnson, the guy having the world's most frustrating presidential campaign, is joining Congressman Ron Paul in rejecting calls to run on the Libertarian Party ticket. Johnson hopes to find some campaign steam in New Hampshire and he doesn't want to think about any third party steps, even though the idea of a libertarian-friendly independent/third party candidate makes some Republicans very nervous, because it could tip 2012 to Obama's favor.
According to Talking Points Memo:
“I intend to stay in this as a Republican,” Johnson said via text message Tuesday.
Politico reports that “several Libertarian Party leaders have approached [Johnson] about bolting the GOP and taking that party’s 50-state ballot nomination.” That would make sense, considering Johnson’s position as the guy who’s slightly more libertarian in ideology than Ron Paul.
Barring the who is more libertarian than who debate (really, let's not), the embarrassment of riches that is the presence — however marginalized — of both Paul and Johnson in the GOP race would be nicer still if Johnson had been invited to more than two debates.
Johnson clearly agrees and— since his Citizens for Gary Johnson group has touted the former Gov. on social media to no avail — he's filed a complaint with both the Federal Election Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.
Huntsman and Santorum pop up at almost every debate in spite of some seriously stagnant poll numbers. They may usually be a point or two ahead of Johnson's usual 1 percent, but then, they're usually included as an option besides "other."
The Johnson campaign blog summarizes the complaint (with full, more official wording here):
Citing prohibitions against corporate contributions, the campaign’s FEC complaint makes the argument that, by arbitrarily choosing who benefited from valuable air time during the broadcast debate and excluding others, CBS was “directly and significantly supporting those candidates it favors, and advocating the nomination of one of their favorites and opposing the nomination of Complainant, whom CBS evidently disfavors.”
Similarly, in a complaint filed with the FCC, the Johnson campaign asserts that “The public owns the airways over which CBS broadcasts, and the public deserves to be free from bias- favoring some candidates over others- as well as illegal support of certain presidential candidates on national network television.”
As ridiculous as the media and debate sponser treatment of Johnson has been, there's definitely some libertarian-cringing to be done in response to the publicly owned airwaves argument being used for anything.
Reason on Gary Johnson, including the most recent Reason.tv outing where Johnson visited Occupy Wall Street.