Former two-term Gov. Gary Johnson (R-N.M.) tells the Santa Fe New Mexican that he feels "abandoned" by a Republican Party that shut him out of all but two of GOP presidential debates so far. As a result, he's mulling over the idea of running for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination.
"If I'd have been included in 16 of the last debates we wouldn't even be having this conversation," Johnson said.
Johnson said there have been "overtures made" by the Libertarian Party. While there's no guarantee he'd win the nomination, Johnson believes he'd have a fair chance….
In early polls, Johnson's percentages were in the low single digits. In late August, a CNN poll showed Johnson ahead of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and tied with businessman Herman Cain. Huntsman, Santorum and Cain have been invited to all the debates. However, since that time, CNN's polls haven't included Johnson — which is the case with other polling organizations in recent weeks.
It's hard to get good poll numbers if your name isn't on the poll, Johnson pointed out.
There's little doubt that Johnson—who unambiguously supports an end to the drug war, a non-interventionist foreign policy, reproductive rights, liberalized immigration policy, free trade, and many other libertarian position—would be the highest-profile LP candidate at least since Ron Paul hit the hustings back in 1988. As a pol who won election twice in a Democratic-heavy state and governed to bipartisan acclaim, he'd also be the first one who could point to administrative experience and success, which would surely help with publicity for the LP's existence and positions.
What say you, Hit & Run readers? Should Gary Johnson dump a GOP that just isn't that in to him and go full-frontal Libertarian?