Libertarian Party Invites Gary Johnson to Run for Senate

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Former New Mexico governor and unsuccessful presidential candidate Gary Johnson received a formal invitation Saturday to run for the U.S. Senate under the Libertarian Party banner.

The central committee of New Mexico’s Libertarian Party offered Johnson the party’s nomination as a replacement to State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, who abandoned his Senate bid earlier in the week.

Johnson has two weeks to decide whether to accept.

He said in a statement Saturday that he was giving serious consideration to the offer.

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“A major factor is, simply, whether I can win,” he said.

“If I run, it will be with the intention to win, and give our state a strong, independent voice in Washington.”

ORLANDO, FL – SEPTEMBER 22: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in the Fox News/Google GOP Debate at the Orange County Convention Center on September 22, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. The debate featured the nine Republican candidates two days before the Florida straw poll. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

 

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Johnson would compete against incumbent Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich and Republican Mick Rich, a construction contractor and newcomer to politics.

In 2016, Johnson won 9 percent of the vote in New Mexico as the Libertarian presidential candidate, while Hillary Clinton carried the state.

Johnson was twice elected governor as a Republican in 1994 and 1998.

US Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaks to AFP during an interview in Washington, DC, on May 9, 2016.
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is running for president as a Libertarian, just as he did 2012 when he managed to get 1.2 million votes. Regardless of his chances of a win, Johnson is reaching out to undecided Republican voters who are looking for a third-party option and are unconvinced that Donald Trump is the answer. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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He hued to a small-government philosophy and advocated for legalized marijuana when it still was taboo in mainstream politics.

Johnson represents the Libertarian Party’s best chance to date at winning its first Senate seat, state party Chairman Chris Luchini said.

Rich said Friday that his “commitment is stronger than ever” to his campaign.

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