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December 29, 2011

What’s next for Governor Johnson?

Amanda Haddaway

Former New Mexico governor and presidential hopeful Gary Johnson is either a marketing genius or a man desperate for media attention.


The mainstream media has all but ignored him since he announced; but things started to change last week when the rumor mill began churning about the possibility of his withdrawal from the Republican primary.


Political pundits across the country speculated that Governor Johnson will pursue a Libertarian nomination instead. The official announcement was set to take place yesterday, but some are calling it the worst kept secret in politics.


Mr. Johnson’s Republican bid never caught the fire that candidates Herman Cain, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich enjoyed. However, he has made some significant accomplishments in both his public and private sector careers.


During his tenure as governor of New Mexico, Mr. Johnson worked diligently to trim the state’s budget and left office with a budget surplus. He was a successful business owner prior to running for public office, and he brought many of those operational and management skills with him to the governor’s office. His small government approach earned him the nickname “Governor Veto.” He slashed the size of government and prohibited tax increases for six of his eight years in office.


So, what does Governor Johnson offer that the other candidates don’t? Let’s take a look at some of his campaign tenets.


He will gain favor with fiscal conservatives on his proposed spending reforms. He suggests that federal spending must be cut by trillions of dollars through enacting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security reforms and auditing the Federal Reserve. He also believes that taxes should be cut, the tax code should be simplified and the corporate income tax should be eliminated.


Governor Johnson takes a hard stand that a smaller government would be more effective. He proposes that the federal government reduce its involvement in the economy and education. He strongly favors school choice. He also believes that our foreign policy should be revised to bring all troops home and focus on our protection of U.S. citizens and interests.


He may lose favor with more conservative voters because of his stance on drug policy reform. He believes that marijuana should be legalized and that a process of regulating, taxing and enforcing its lawful use will make America better off. He states on his campaign website that legalizing marijuana will also help with immigration concerns.


“Legalizing marijuana will reduce border violence and illegal immigration significantly, decreasing the U.S.-Mexican drug trade by 70 percent, he says. Without a monopoly on the marijuana trade, Mexican drug cartels will have vastly diminished incentives to violate U.S. law and risk capture.” This claim is not substantiated by any data on his website, so it is unclear whether or not this would really be the case.


Some of Johnson’s campaign platform closely aligns with a traditional Republican doctrine and some veers off far to the left. With a growing number of disenfranchised Republicans, there is a possibility that a third-party candidate could pull enough votes from the Republican nominee to ensure the re-election of President Barack Obama.


There’s also speculation that Texas Congressman Ron Paul and Governor Johnson will join forces and run on a combined ticket to entice more voters.


There will certainly be more information on this topic as we grow closer to the Libertarian Presidential Convention in May.


Contact Amanda via email at You can also reach her via her blog at


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