Gary Johnson was a very popular two-term governor of New Mexico as a Republican from 1995 to 2003, and he got a startlingly good, for a Libertarian, 9.3 percent of the state's presidential vote in 2016.
While he said in 2016 that his politician days are over, the Associated Press reported Friday on rumors that had been swirling in Libertarian circles for weeks, though not yet fully confirmed from Johnson, that he plans to step into the Libertarian Party's nomination for Senate this year from New Mexico.
That could happen if, as speculated, current holder of the slot Aubrey Dunn (a former Republican who is currently commissioner of public lands in the state) steps down.
Ron Nielson, Johnson's longtime campaign manager, describes Johnson to the AP as "strongly considering" running if Dunn indeed drops out, but adds that Johnson "doesn't want to get into a race he can't win."
Democratic incumbent Sen. Martin Heinrich is currently considered an easy frontrunner over Republican Mick Rich for the Senate seat. Hillary Clinton won the state in 2016.
Here is a video from earlier this month with Nielson and Johnson teasing the idea of a return to politics for Gary, in which Johnson says that what Libertarians need is actual success at the ballot box, that there's a "need to get someone elected." Johnson believes "if you had a true independent Libertarian in office that was successful, that would become the template" for further L.P. success.
He admits he's said no to future runs, but now he's "not ruling anything out because we need a success story. Maybe in that context I might play a role."
Further news and analysis on this developing story to come.