Gary Johnson Wants Jim Gray As His VP

If all goes according to plan for former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson at this week’s Libertarian Party convention in Las Vegas, he will win his party’s nomination for president on the first ballot and his running mate will be Judge Jim Gray.  

“The process all along has been to find somebody that can articulate libertarian ideals and beliefs and I’ve thought all along that he would be a really solid pick,” said Johnson, during a phone interview with Reason late Sunday night.

Johnson said the fact that Gray is a judge and has prior campaign experience at a high level in California makes him a valuable addition to the campaign. 

“He’s been through the fire and he will be one heartbeat from the presidency and I think he would be very capable of that,” he said.

Like Johnson, Gray was once a Republican and does have prior campaign experience but unlike Johnson he has not won a contested election. He never faced an electoral challenge as a Superior Court judge in Orange County and he lost his runs for Congress in 1998 and US Senate in 2004, respectively.  Gray retired from the court in 2009 and is now a lawyer in private practice specializing in arbitration and mediation.

The Johnson/Gray ticket started to come together back in early March, around the time of the California Libertarian Party state convention. Johnson and Gray appeared together on a podcast where a caller asked about the possibility of the two running as a team. Gray, an early endorser of Johnson, said that the idea never crossed his mind until then when he was listed on the short list of possible vice presidential candidates.

“It was the first time I ever considered it and shortly thereafter his campaign approached me about the possibility of it,” said Gray.

This was not their first meeting as Johnson endorsed Gray’s drug policy book while he was still governor in 2001. The two were on an education reform panel at FreedomFest in 2010 and Johnson really left an impression on Gray as he “really understood Milton Friedman’s approach.”

Eventually everything fell into place on April 23 when the Johnson campaign formally asked Gray if he would be their running mate. Gray accepted.

“I agreed to run only if we were going to run to win. I am not going to do this ‘Let’s have a moral victory’ stuff. I believe, and I think he agrees, that we have a good, solid 1 ½ % chance of winning this election,” he said.

Gray said the Johnson campaign considered him, along with two other possible candidates, for vice president. At this time there do not appear to be any additional candidates currently seeking the Libertarian nomination for vice president. This could change at the convention as the Libertarians have a history of picking vice presidents from presidential candidates that lose in the early rounds of voting. This happened as recently as 2008 when Wayne Allyn Root wound up as the vice presidential candidate after losing his bid for the presidential nomination on the fifth ballot. Root ran as Bob Barr’s running mate after being elected in the second round of voting.

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  • WWNGD?||

    The arms folded, it never looks good. I don't know of a better pose, besides cropping the arms out. The arms folded look like Jeff Dunham and Walter.

  • Spiny Norman||

    It worked for Peter Norton.

  • ||

    i love Gary but this is just depressing. The photo is showing as broken, which seems a metaphor for something or other

  • squarooticus||

    You'd think a utilitarian libertarian (not actually sure if such a thing makes sense, but there ya go) would run a more effective campaign than a dreamer/idealist like Ron Paul. Johnson has been nothing but a huge disappointment this cycle. There's only so much blaming of the establishment media one can do: at some point, he needed to create his own press which thanks to social media is now easier to do than ever.

  • daveInAustin||

    Gary Johnson is the first LP presidential candidate who ever won a statewide election. That is something even Ron Paul hasn't done. Gary Johnson isn't perfect, but he is the best the LP has had.

  • tarran||

    Nothing you said rebuts squarooticus' observation that Gary Johnson has utterly failed to perform.

    Personally, I am not disappointed. I had Marriana-trench-depth low expectations and he met them. ;)

  • Adamson||

    "Gary Johnson is the first LP presidential candidate who ever won a statewide election."

    Not as a Libertarian.

  • give-me-liberty.org||

    That's beside the point. The fact that we have a former governor is huge, someone with a trace if national name recognition which is more than can be said about Representatives Paul or Barr at the time of their runs. As for those who say we shouldn't pick a nominee based on notoriety, I'd say that Johnson is hell of a lot more libertarian than Barr was.

  • Proprietist||

    Things will change drastically when Paul drops out or loses to Romney at convention, and hopefully endorses Johnson. I see no reason why he shouldn't or wouldn't besides a Rand Paul VP promise from Romney.

    Once Paul's fans are behind Johnson, I see his numbers taking a jump - hopefully enough to get into debates with Obama and Romney.

    The fact is that Johnson has underperformed only because Paul's following is so much more dominant and organized, and the media (logically) simply did not see enough room for more than one libertarian candidate at a time.

  • NL_||

    I'm sure I'll vote for them, but I'm not so optimistic about their chances for a winning vote share. If they can pull 1.5% of the national popular vote they will officially be the vote-gettingest LP ticket ever.

  • RPR2||

    announce it on a 2 hour ESPN special.

  • shamalam||

    Personally, I like the idea of Jim Gray as VP candidate. This puts a huge exclamation point on GJ's anti drug war philosophy.

    If Ron Paul does not get the Repub nomination, the Johnson/Gray get my vote in the general.

    I only hope the Johnson/Gray ticket pulls enough votes to push Romney to the loss column. I prefer Romney over Obama, but only barely; Libertarians causing a Repub loss will drive home the point to the Repubs that "fiscal conservancy and Social liberalism" is the only way they can capture the white house. Forcing these idiot SoCons to appease libertarians/Independents is a terrific philosophical victory!

  • Cliché Bandit||

    It never ceases to amaze me when people (on the internet or otherwise) criticize the "failed" campaigns of others, in particular Libertarians. Things like: "Well he should have used the internet for media", or "Why doesn't she raise more money", or "If he only focused his attention on X demographic". The ignorance and shortsightedness of these comments is astounding. I speak from personal experience. I ran my first time to demonstrate "how it should be done"...well, I did make an impressive impact but never stood a chance. ONLY after working the apparatus for years, and ONLY after helping people actually get elected, and ONLY after seeing the challenges once elected to office did I fully understand the roadblocks. And it is way more than "just that one or two things" that the geniuses who have never lifted a finger think. It shouldn't bother me, and usually doesn't but GJ has done more for liberty and the LP than almost any other individual in over 20 years. And he has only been at it for five months.

  • Captain Freedom||

    Sounds like a nice choice. He's not pro-Hosni Mubarkak, not a Islamphobe, isn't a conservative...like Wayne Allyn Root.

  • Adamson||

    So much for the LP actually being Libertarian.

  • Scotch Man||

    I'm not going to get worked up about the purity of Gary Johnson. If you want to chose between Coke or Pepsi with Romney and Obama, be my guest. I voted for clowns like Bob Barr for crying out loud and Gary Johnson is ten times better. I never really looked at the candidate when it came to the LP. I usually vote LP in Presidential elections because I want a small government, an economy that manages itself, legal crack, and less foreign intervention and torture. You don't really get that in the two big parties so screw them. I don't expect victory and I usually find myself chuckling that I was among the 1% of bought into it, but I leave the voting booth feeling clean.

  • Carol Moore DC||

    As a hard core libertarian, I'm always more concerned about the PARTYARCHY remaining hard core libertarian so they will make sure these candidates know they CAN be booted off the ticket if they talk too much statist nonsense. And of course both of them do, but at least I feel they are decent people who have an understanding of libertarian principles, even if they aren't fully ready to embrace them. Johnson has come along on some issues. Like now he explicitly says we should NOT follow Israel into war vs Iran. And Gray is a big supporter of human rights and property rights for Palestinians and their right to self-determination in their own state. (Which defacto means Israel has to start giving back all the land it has stolen since 1948.) And he has declared he will make this an issue in his campaign. Hopefully delegates WILL boot that fool Root.
    http://carolmoore.net/libertarianparty/bootroot

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