Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson Contemplating Libertarian Run for Senate in New Mexico

The former New Mexico governor got nearly 10 percent of the presidential vote there as a Libertarian in 2016 and has recently said Libertarians need "a success story."

|

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.

NEXT: Gun Control Groups Fail to Stop Distribution of Gun-Making Computer Files

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. 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.”

    Meh, Vohra one an election, Sharpe got favorable press in the national media. Are we trying to win elections or are we trying to impress reporters in the national media?

    1. Vohra’s never won an election in his life, aside from a handful of internal party elections.

  2. Trumptards and russian troll bots in coming in 3…2..

    1. Nope.

    2. I like Trumo ok and think Johnson would be a huge improvement over the democrat, and possibly better than the likely republican challenger.

      Not sure what your problem is.

    3. RUSSIAN BOTS TOUCHED MY GIRLFRIEND WHERE HER BATHING SUIT COVERS, AND REGULARLY STEAL ONE OF MY SOCKS OUT OF EACH PAIR. – t. Left Authoritarian Libertarian

  3. DO IT!

  4. great!keep sharing latest updates.
    nox for windows

  5. Why would Dunn step aside? Does he/she have trouble brewing or is there pressure to allow a more “attractive” candidate.

    1. Dunn supports Johnson entering the race.

  6. Symbolic for the LP, go backwards in politics.

    1. I adjust my position because I now see that GJ would be running for U.S. Senator from new Mexico not New Mexico State Senator.

      I think GJ would beat an incumbent US Senator and that would be a step forward with Libertarianism in US politics.

      1. If the goal is to get someone with the LP label actually elected to office, his odds would be better running for state senate than U.S. senate. He’s already been gov, so that would be a step backwards, but at least he would be currently in office.

  7. Johnson is dead to me.

    1. they have medication for that

      1. Ha! almost spilled my coffee

  8. JUST DO IT!

  9. Gary Johnson is a good man. There aren’t enough of those in the Senate. I hope he wins.

    1. I’m sure he’s a lovely man, but he’s no libertarian.

      1. “Keep the Libertarian Party fringe!”

        Catchy slogan…

      2. but he’s no libertarian
        But he’s willing to pretend… sorta.

    2. Absolutely, a very successful 2 term governor.

  10. Reason #2 for Republican “turncoat” infiltration of the LP: clog all potential LP candidate victories with antichoice looter partisans in sheep’s clothing. This precludes the election of genuine LP candidates to those paycheck-generating seats. How much longer before Robert Dear declares himself a “libertarian” prison inmate who was only trying to cut government spending by shooting folks at Planned Parenthood?

    1. “genuine LP candidates” scare the crap out of 98% of American voters. Go incremental or go home.

      1. Plus it costs something like $10 million to run for U.S. senate. Gotta feed those swamp clingers

      2. It’s understandable. If wanting to decriminalize all drugs and sex work or open borders doesn’t scare them, then wanting to eliminate government welfare and stay out of all foreign conflicts does.

        So instead they stick with the “safe” choices of $21 trillion debts, more wars in more places then most can count, spying on everybody, and busybodies who want to control what you eat, drink (and even HOW you get that liquid from cup to mouth), how you work, your sex life, etc. None of that scares them, but it scares the shit out of me.

      3. Maga

    2. “”‘Republican “turncoat” infiltration”””

      This is a hot take.

      because Gay Jay and Bill Weld are super-republican as well as Apex-Libertarians.

      really.

      1. Maga

  11. This is the only site from which “Spug” tries to download. Does this happen often?

  12. Johnson “doesn’t want to get into a race he can’t win.”

    Doesn’t sound very Libertarian to me.

  13. Johnson “doesn’t want to get into a race he can’t win.”

    Doesn’t sound very Libertarian to me.

    1. The squirrels apparently agree.

  14. Gary Johnson Contemplating Libertarian Run for Senate in New Mexico

    Ya know Brian, not everyone cares about New Mexico politics. You might want to add U.S. Senate to your heading as seems like GJ is running for New Mexico State Senate.

    After seeing that looking up that “Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich ….” is the current US Senator for New Mexico, I think its a great idea for GJ to beat him under a Libertarian ticket.

    It gets rid of a Democrat from the Senate, a LP guy would be in Congress, and would allow Gary Johnson to discuss Libertarianism (as long as he leaves out forcing bakers to bake cakes).

    1. He can sweep into office on the strength of the baker vote!

      1. I am hardly a fan boy but I can’t imagine anybody having an objection to him running for this particular position. Good luck to him!

        1. Gary Johnson has yet to reconcile how a Libertarian could support forcing bakers to bake cakes.

          GJ wont admit he made a mistake because he didnt make a mistake. Hence Libertarians question his credentials as a Libertarian.

          That and doing anything with that non-Libertarian Bill Weld seems suspicious if you are a Libertarian.

          1. Why should any of that make you not cheer him on in his efforts to win this race? Apparently he will be entering a race that the Republican cannot win; whereas he himself is extremely popular in his (rather blue) state. If he does win he will hardly be worse than the average Republican senator from the libertarian perspective (in case you had the odd opinion that it would be worse to have the Republican caucus loaded down with milquetoasts than cede the seat to a Democrat). Finally libertarians and pro-liberty NH Republicans were proud to have punished Kelly Ayotte for her RINOism (and the McConnell leadership for enabling it) by explicitly throwing her election to Maggie Hasan, but it’s hard to see how any similar dynamic would be appropriate here.

            If he’s got more of a shot of winning than the Republican I say go for it.

            1. I couldn’t care less about helping the LP, by the way. I’m not even sure it’s a good idea.

              1. One strategy is to let the LP rot since it evidently is full of anarchists and Lefties like Bill Weld, Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch….

                Another strategy is put in time and effort to make the LP Libertarian and push out non-Libertarians who are trying to keep Libertarianism down.

                1. Ah, I see. As I expected, hardline anti-Johnsonism is more about people who care a lot about the LP and its future. I simply don’t.

                  For me there are two priorities: First, keep the Democrats out of power to the maximum extent possible. Second, try to actually dismantle statism. In general I think the emergence of a third party in the LP’s position is going to hurt the first goal more than it helps at this point. That could change. As for the second, I am not particularly convinced that the LP is a particularly good vehicle for it at this point. Operating within the Republican Party, and pulling it more toward the hardline limited-government side, seems to be.

                  I am flexible on this view; maybe I’ll be convinced otherwise. But it’s highly unlikely I’ll find the internal politics of this small party important enough to fuck with who goes to the U.S. Senate for the sake of battles over the soul and future of the LP.

                  1. …If I cared about the LP, after all, I’d be a member. Instead of being what I am: a Democrat …which should tell you something about how I think of parties as a political tool.

                    1. LP is a superior audio format. Dynamic range, etc. Kept all my LPs and I cherish them.( wink )

                  2. Can’t take exception to your first priority. Granted, it’s always a question of the lesser of two evils.
                    Not quite a Hobson’s Choice….yet.
                    Statism, OTH, is extremely reluctant to relinquish its’ power and authoritaaay.
                    Be brave, citizens, hold your nose, and vote.

                  3. Diego F, Pragmatically its really hard to get elected if you are not part of some party.

                    The only 3 parties that have won more than a few fluke elections are Republicans, Democrats, and the LP.

                    I am a Libertarian and dont need a political party per se but I realize that Libertarians are not going to win elections unless you have a party like the LP that signals to voters that LP candidates are probably Libertarians. Most voters are lazy and dont keep track of every candidate so they look for the political moniker (R)/(D)/(L). Its just the way it is right now.

                    I personally think the LP is being steered by non-Libertarians in order to minimize the LP messing it up for the Democratic Party. Open borders, forcing bakers to bake cakes, etc are not Libertarian positions but the LP has been changed to embrace Lefty positions.

                    1. Open borders, forcing bakers to bake cakes, etc are not Libertarian positions

                      State control of immigration is not a libertarian position. Libertarians believe the market should regulate immigration. This position is espoused by people like Ludwig Von Mises, Milton Friedman (despite out of context quotes against the welfare state), David Nolan, Bryan Caplan, and the list goes on and on.

                      Mises even equated immigration controls with the central planning found in socialism. So, maybe your position is the “lefty” one after all?

                      Look, you don’t have to espouse all libertarian positions. But portraying your position as the mainstream libertarian position when it’s so obviously not the case is dishonest at best.

                    2. Small and limited government is absolutely Libertarian. For Americans, Libertarianism ties in with the constotution. The constitution allows for states to protect its borders and regulate immigration.

                      You’re looking for anarchy which is not Libertarianism.

                      Mises is not the leaders of Libertarianism. His theories just provide some good ideas that Libertarianism incorporated. Libertarianism is very close to classical liberalism since liberal was stoeln by socialists.

                      Youre not even a Libertarian, so you trying to undermine Libertarianism is obvious every time you do it.

                    3. The Constitution is not perfectly libertarian either. It espouses some libertarian ideals, and some very unlibertarian ideas.

                      Libertarianism is rooted in personal liberty above all else. The NAP supports that. You can’t square immigration with either of those concepts, so you use the Constitution as a crutch. That’s constitutionalism, not libertarianism.

                    4. I meant to say “you can’t square immigration control with either…”

                    5. Libertarianism does not support absolute liberty.

                      If you want absolute Liberty, then you want anarchy.

                      The NAP does prevent you from defending against people from invading your property.

                      Libertarianism supports rule of law but that needs to be based on small and limited government.

                      If you want no Rule of Law, the you want anarchy.

                    6. I’m not an anarchist. Governments are useful for protecting individual liberties. Individuals should certainly be able to defend their property. You describe collectivist property rights. You describe the will of the majority being forced onto individuals. Only collectivist, nationalism can say that these certain people aren’t allowed on your property. Muh roadzzz!

                      I don’t want central economic planning, which you support. Governments defining the size of and who can participate in the labor supply is central planning plain and simple. It’s no different in principal than socialism, where government controls the supply of goods through central planning. Don’t believe me? Look no further than the fact that leftist labor unions also support immigration controls. Strange company for lovers of individual freedom to be keeping.

                    7. The constitution is volunteerism. If you want the outstanding protections and group defense, then you need to give up some absolute liberty to do so.

                      Yes, thank you.

                    8. I dont want central panning in the economy. Im for 100% free market.

                      It different than socialism because its voluntary. Socialism does not want people to leave beecause that shrinks the pool from which to murder and steal from.

                      My reasons for immigration control are different than labor unions reason for controlling immigration. Labor unions dont want free market I do. You can have free market and national boundary controls.

                2. Don’t lump us anarcho-Capitalists in with the cultural Marxists like Welch and Weld.

                  “The constitution either permits such a government as we have had, or is powerless to defend against it. Either way, it is not fit to exist.” Lysander Spooner

            2. Well, he’d definitely be preferable to any Democrat, but honestly, after the meandering goofiness of presidential campaign, not to mention that damned barnacle Welch “vouching for Hillary,” I don’t know if he can generate the excitement to make a go of it. I mean, look at this sparsely populated thread.

              That being said, I voted for him in 2016, and given the choices I don’t regret it. If I lived in New Mexico, I’d do so again. But that ain’t worth much.

          2. Who’s this Hihn guy everyone keeps ignoring?

            1. Maga

          3. That was his REAL Aleppo moment.

    2. Excellent point. Being the one LP guy in a closely divided Senate would give him disproportionate power to push the LP cause.

      1. Hope GJ has studied up on his foreign affairs, so he can avoid another embarrasing Snakistan/ Fritolaysia moment.

        1. He doesn’t need to study up on foreign affairs per se. He just needs to have answers as to how he would approach those issues – specifically who does he know/trust who DOES have more knowledge about specific parts of the world or issues than he does. That’s as simple as having an extensive rolodex (assuming younger voters even know what that is).

          Combine that knowledge base with basic libertarian principles and libertarians can change our foreign policy because the overwhelming majority of Americans are in line with libertarians on that.

          Chant the principles alone with no way of adding to the knowledge/decision process – and its very easy to be portrayed as the catatonic deer caught in the headlights – and thus correctly ignored.

  15. The other interesting part of this story is the backchatter on Twitter among conservatives and Republicans about Mick Rich’s campaign and whether he (the basically-unknown GOP candidate who’s been substantially behind in all the polls) should get out of the race if Johnson enters ? with the state Republican Party instead focusing internal resources against Heinrich and de facto endorsing Johnson. That would force the Democrats to either spend money in a state they had thought was in the bag ? when they need to defend so many seats this cycle ? or chance losing that seat to a wildcard independent (from a Republican point of view, a Senator Gary Johnson would mean an extra conservative vote on a lot of economic bills, another Rand Paul on most defense/foreign policy bills, and the same sort of NM on a lot of other types of bills, so it’s overall a better deal than re-electing Heinrich if Rich appears unable to win).

  16. Gay Jay would be a great addition to the Senate. I hope he wins.

  17. Wonder if he’s too high to know where Albuquerque is. I don’t regret my vote for him. But how sad that he was the best choice.

  18. GayJay can’t just have his forcibly-baked gay wedding cake and eat it.

  19. While he said in 2016 that his politician days are over

    You can’t trust Gary Johnson

  20. Only 46 comments on this article after being up all day on an ostensibly libertarian site?

    That level of interest doesn’t seem to bode well for Johnson’s potential candidacy. I’ve got nothing particularly against him, even voted for him and his execrable running mate in 2016, but if this is all the excitement he can muster, come on, man.

    1. Maga

  21. Gay Nazis of New Mexico rejoice!!!!!!!

  22. No majority of voters will elect a LP candidate to a major office such as a seat in Congress, or for Governor, not any time soon. Perhaps there could be an outside possibility if someone with Johnson’s name recognition ran for a statewide down-ballot office, the sort of office for which a reasonable percentage of voters might be tempted to cast a protest vote for a third-party candidate — for an office in which (s)he would be perceived as not being able to screw up things too much, in a worst-case scenario. I’m no fan of Johnson’s sorta-kinda libertarian-lite positions, but hey — run for NM Secretary of State in 2020, GJ. For that, you might have a chance.

    1. New Mexico already elected Gary Johnson the state’s governor. Granted, that was when he had an (R), but NM SoS would be a blatant step downward.

      Also, he can’t run for NM SoS in 2020 because they serve four-year terms, and the election for the job is this November.

      Other than that . . .

  23. The LP is full of anarchists and Lefties.

    Anytime a Libertarian says anything relating to classical liberalism, they get attacked to shut down the movement that will be the counter voice to statism.

    1. Another ignored and unread Hihn post.

      1. More ignored bold Hihn non-factoids.

          1. The popcorn you’re eating has been pissed in. Film at 11.

        1. Maga

  24. Hihn the troll has gone to strait bold and is still ignored.

  25. Bottom line: Libertarians need to find some new voices

    — sigh

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.