Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson Out-Fundraising Republican Opponent Mick Rich

Libertarian haul is still dwarfed by the Democrat's, though a Rand Paul-friendly PAC is kicking in $2 million.


A New Mexican three-way. ||| Greg Sorber/ZUMA Press/Newscom
Greg Sorber/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Federal Election Commission campaign fundraising figures for the New Mexico Senate race came in Monday, and they show Libertarian Gary Johnson beating Republican Mick Rich in the race to be a distant second to Democratic incumbent Martin Heinrich.

Johnson out-raised Rich, $235,000 to $133,000, for the July to September period, despite only beginning his campaign in mid-August. Heinrich, who came into the reporting period with a $4.984 million to $689,000 fundraising advantage over Rich, announced a haul of $911,000. Campaign spending during those three months went $2.4 million for Heinrich, $173,000 for Rich, and $171,000 for Johnson. Total cash on hand at the end of September was Heinrich $2.4 million, Rich $158,000, and Johnson $64,000.

As the Santa Fe New Mexican and others have noted, this is hardly the end of the New Mexico Senate campaign expenditure story. The Rand Paul-affiliated Protect Freedom PAC announced this month a $2 million pro-Johnson advertising campaign, which is producing ads like this: "Send a historic message to Washington." On a smaller scale, there's Elect Liberty PAC, run by longtime Johnson collaborator Ron Nielson (sample product: "The Unpolitician"), and the Our Western Values 501(c)4, among others.

As Nielson told me right before Johnson officially announced, "We're hoping that we can raise substantial sums, millions of dollars, here in the not-too-distant future."

How are all those campaign ads, plus the recent candidate debate, affecting the race? We have no measurable idea. Like a lot of states, New Mexico has abysmal polling data, so there hasn't been a nonpartisan poll in a month. A Johnson-affiliated poll from late September showed the Libertarian gaining to within nearly single digits of the Democrat, but nine out of 10 political forecasters collated on this Wikipedia page assess the seat as a "Safe D."

Still, having an unusually competitive Libertarian in the race is a good way to smoke out the workaday awfulness of the two other parties:

Heinrich, meanwhile, is dragging Johnson for daring to suggest cutting military spending.

So what does Gary Johnson's 2018 pitch look like? Here's his opening statement at the recent Senate debate:

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  1. I’m feeling pretty good about his chances to come in second. If only all the GOP partisans would refrain from “throwing away” their votes, he could win.

    1. Like him or not, a vote for Johnson is a vote to ensure that a Democrat will win. I wouldn’t be surprised if Democrat and/or Soros money is not a large part of his donations, in order to split the non-Democrat vote. Many times, voting is not about who you “like” – it’s about avoiding the lesser of two evils. Voting for Johnson will ensure that the greater of two evils will win.

      1. Sorry, should have said “… choosing the lesser of two evils.”

      2. By that logic, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that a vote for Rich is a vote to ensure a Democrat will win? Gary Johnson represents the best opportunity to deny the seat to a Democrat. Shouldn’t Rich consider dropping out?

        1. If Johnson has a better chance than Rich, then the answer is you should vote for Johnson. I’m not familiar with New Mexico politics but the Republican candidate generally has the better chance of winning. Politics is no longer about voting for your ideals – it’s about using your vote to thwart the takeover of our country by leftist who have taken over the Democrat Party. Both libertarian idealists and moderate to conservative Republicans are much better off with either a Republican or Libertarian in office.

  2. Love the bolo

    1. Yeah, nice way to subtly indicate he’s more authentic than the other two.

  3. That was a pretty good statement. Go Gary!

  4. I watched the full debate on youtube the other night. While Gary was as awkward and inarticulate as ever, he really didn’t look bad in comparison to the other two candidates (robotic and/or cheesy). He really showed some fire too. Regardless of the outcome of the election, I think his campaign will be a pretty big net gain for liberty.

    1. “think his campaign will be a pretty big net gain for liberty.”

      How so?

      1. Just that he’s reaching a wide audience (relatively speaking) with ideas of limiting the federal government. Also drawing the support of Rand Paul, as a successful major-party politician, will be impactful in that it could get some folks to listen who might otherwise dismiss him automatically.

        “Big net gain” might be overstating it, but every little bit in the right direction matters.

  5. Nothing says “New Mexico” like a bolo tie. I wonder if it’s a replica of the one worn by King Henry V?

    1. I played a gig once on tour in Nashville where instead of being paid in cash we were paid in cowboy shirts and bolo ties.

  6. I’ll take National Socialist German Workers’ Party Baked Goods for 200, Alex.

  7. The only person on stage with a bolo tie. In New Mexico that’s a sign of victory!

  8. I’m kinda surprised that Weld didn’t try to run for Senate in Mass. again. He lost in 1996 to John Kerry, but could probably come closer to beating Fauxcahontas than the GOP candidate or “The Real Indian”

  9. This New Mexican votes for the bolo.

  10. Heinrich likely fears Johnson and Rich roughly equally.

    Not much.

    1. So this Dem candidate has repudiated the planks on Carbon Tax except for Red China, banning coal, gas and nuclear power plants and subsidizing the windmills and solar panels now powering Puerto Rico? Bill Richardson was also a NM governor once, and he sure as hell noticed the second Atlas Shrugged blackout in Noo Yawk in 2003.

  11. …and you thought the democrats was the party that hated money, capitalism and campaign contributions.

  12. This is the assisted suicide of the God’s Own Prohibitionist party I’ve been looking forward to. With friends like the Klan, Big Pharma, Asset-forfeiture looting cops, the IRS and the Military-Industrial Complex, who needs enemies?

  13. I’m glad he’s doing well, but he is just so bland and unappealing.

    1. Just the way I like my politicians.

  14. So, marijuana is an opioid and people are dying in the streets from it? That’s McRich.

  15. At least there is a choice in NM. In Arizona, there isn’t a single Libertarian or Independent candidate on the ballot. The state Rebublicans have managed to change the requirements for getting on the ballot thinking most Independents or Liberatarian lean right. Assholes. Might vote Democrat just for spite.

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