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Gary Johnson to Seek Libertarian Presidential Nomination

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #714)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues

The Washington, DC, political news web site reported Tuesday that Gary Johnson will end his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination and instead seek the Libertarian Party nomination. Citing Johnson campaign sources, said that Johnson will make the announcement at a December 28 press conference in Santa Fe.

Gary Johnson (
Calling news of the switch "the worst kept secret," Libertarian Party Chairman Mark Hinkle told that Johnson had been in talks with Libertarian officials for months. "It looks like it's definitely going to come to fruition here," he said.

The former New Mexico governor's bid for the Republican nomination never got any traction and he never got above single digits in any polls. The low polling numbers keep him out of most debates -- unfairly, his campaign claimed -- further reducing his chances in a crowded field.

Johnson has a strong drug reform platform, which calls outright for legalization of marijuana and a harm reduction approach to other drugs.

"Abuse of hard drugs is a health problem that should be dealt with by health experts, not a problem that should be clogging up our courts, jails, and prisons with addicts," the platform says. "Instead of continuing to arrest and incarcerate drug users, we should seriously consider the examples of countries such as Portugal and the Netherlands, and we should ultimately choose to adopt policies which aim to reduce death, disease, violence, and crime associated with dangerous drugs."

Although it's no shoo-in, Johnson could well win the Libertarian nomination. While there are a handful of other contenders, none of them has Johnson's national stature. And while party stalwarts daydream of a Ron Paul or Jesse Ventura candidacy, Paul is busy fighting for the Republican nomination and says he has no plans to seek a third party nomination, and Ventura is incommunicado in Mexico.

If he wins the nomination, not only could Johnson use the campaign as a bully pulpit for his drug policy ideas, his candidacy could have an impact on the two-party presidential race, especially in his home state of New Mexico, which went big for Obama in 2008. According to a Public Policy Polling survey conducted earlier this month, Johnson would pull 23% in a contest with Obama (44%) and Romney (27%) and he would pull 20% in a contest with Obama (45%) and Gingrich (28%). Obama is currently polling well against all the Republican candidates and can probably carry the state, but a third party Johnson candidacy would almost ensure an Obama victory in a state he can ill afford to lose next year.

(This article was published by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


n/a (not verified)

If we want real change in the political scene for the drug war Ron Paul is our best hope hes polling first in iowa 2nd in newhampshire and nationally in 3rd place please dont split the vote between the 2 of them. Dont get me wrong I love Gary Johnson but he just doesnt have the numbers behind him. We need to band together against the drug war and vote for the canidate with the best chance. We can get this done but we have to stand united. Ron Paul is consistantly talking against the drug war. Infact if this web sight covered all the times he talked about it thats all this web sight would be. Which makes me question why they dont cover Ron Paul more because he is the best chance to our goal but oh well. Just spread the word this is important we might not have to wait 20 years for anything to happen if you got a guy that will just end the drug war first year in office. Ron Paul 2012 our best chance at ending the drug war.

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 1:51pm Permalink
Ron Paul is NO… (not verified)

In reply to by light (not verified)

I know many people think because ron paul is for legalization does not mean he can do it. Ron paul is pro life, he is a bigot and believes people should not get health care but ask the churches for help. If i asked the churches when my now healthy eleven yr old son was two they would not have  come up with the 200,00 dollars to heal him and doctors bills etc. To me he seems like a hypocrite, He wants America to be free except for his own agenda. 

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 7:04pm Permalink
Moonrider (not verified)

In reply to by Ron Paul is NO… (not verified)

Ron Paul's "pro-life" belief won't affect anyone should he become president, his obedience to the Constitution (which is proven by his voting record and everything he's said, written and done since he came on the political scene) prevents him from imposing that position on all of America.

He is NOT a bigot, and this too is proven by his voting record and his speeches, writings and doings.  Watch this:

  He takes no bribes (no lobbyists are allowed to darken his congressional office door), and he refuses all corporate donations, he cannot be bought.  He is the most honest and consistent supporter of the Constitution, limited government and individual freedom candidate we have ever had in my life time as a presidential candidate.

If we get the government out of healthcare, and allow individuals to get medical insurance at group rates, the costs of healthcare will decrease and access will increase.  And charities DO help with medical bills, churches will often help out their members and some churches will also help even for people who are NOT members.  There are often also State programs that help with catastrophic healthcare costs.  I know this because my adult son had to apply for this aid in our State when he had a brain aneurysm burst and was hospitalized for 21 days with a lot of brain scans and a few surgeries, he'd been out of work for 3 years prior to this and had a wife and 4 children, he had no insurance or money to pay for it himself, between a few charities and this State program his total bill was paid, including the follow ups for the 5 years after his release.  No one the these untied States of America need do without proper medical care if they just do a bit of work to find the help they need.  Ron Paul is correct.

His agenda is the same agenda Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and others of our Founding Fathers' had for this union of sovereign States.

Ron Paul is our best chance for restoring Constitutional governance, peaceful neutrality and trade with other nations, a sound economy and individual liberty.  Anyone who votes for any other candidate is voting for tyranny at home ( the ever increasing loss of freedoms and now this indefinite detention law just passed by congress, except Ron Paul, and signed by Obama), constant wars abroad, and the continuation of the congress and the fed stealing the middle class blind.  Is that really the kind of nation you want?

Sun, 12/25/2011 - 4:07am Permalink
Just Me (not verified)

In reply to by light (not verified)

I the is a racist why would he want to end the number one form of government racism in the country. The DRUG war that target unfairly blacks and other minorities.

Tue, 12/27/2011 - 8:44pm Permalink
Anja (not verified)

I am so thrilled to see someone else mention presidential candidate Ron Paul! One of the first things he will do if elected president is get rid of the DEA and legalize drugs! Why then, is this organization not screaming his name from the rooftops? Ron Paul is gaining the momentum needed to win the presidency. Let's rally around this true hero and take back our personal freedom.
Wed, 12/21/2011 - 2:41pm Permalink
will (not verified)

I am a black american how has served this country I am also from the inner city. I have seen Ron Pauls views and I have heard about the news letters which by the way was proven he didnt write. But either way the biggest disparities in the jails and court rooms is the racist practices by the whole systems drug laws that have taken away some many of my family and friends over the years. Infact look up the statistics 63% if all people jailed for non violent drug crimes are black while only 14% of the black community is actually doing drugs which is around the same as white and hispanics. If you got rid of the drug war this is the most nonracist think you could do infact doing african americans a big justice.  It would take a racist to keep these drug laws inplace. I firmly belive anyone that doesnt vote for Ron Paul is doing an injustice to my community. Besides barrack obama Ron Paul has the most black support dont let these media tacktics fool you dont be ignorant. Ron Paul would pardon every non violent offender who is in federal prison for drugs then maybe I can get back my 2 brothers my father and numorous amounts of friends. And you know the cops are setting us up too look at what happened in NYC just alittle while back where they admitted to planting drugs on innocent people. RON PAUL 2012 spread the word the black community is starting to understand hes the best.

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 5:49pm Permalink
Moonrider (not verified)

In reply to by will (not verified)

Additionally, Ron Paul receives more campaign donations from people in the military than ALL the other candidates (including Obama) put together.  

That he has the support of the military, the minority population, the Blue Democrats, the Independents, the non-party-affiliated students who voted for Obama last time, as well as the libertarian members of the GOP, most libertarians not affiliated with any party (like me), and many dues paying members of the Libertarian party, too, should tell voters all they need to know about him.  

No other candidate has such broad support, and no other candidate's campaign is totally supported by only individual donations.

Sun, 12/25/2011 - 4:04am Permalink
will (not verified)

Ron Paul isnt a racist any one who is ending the drug war is the opposit or has an oppsite effect on racism. The whole system is unjust against our race as a black man in america I really hope you take this comment down, Our community needs Ron Paul it is our community that is hit the hardest in the drug war. RON PAUL 2012.

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 5:52pm Permalink
JimMelloan (not verified)

The best strategy for the anti-drug-war electorate is to register Republican and vote for Ron Paul in the primaries. Then, assuming he doesn't win the nomination (let's put the chances he wins at around 10%), and assuming Johnson wins the LP nomination, vote Johnson in the general election. This will most probably have the effect of re-electing Obama, but if the Libertarians can significantly improve their total in a presidential election to say 5-10%, which I think they could with Johnson, Republicans and Democrats will be on notice that libertarians and others who hate the drug war are here to stay, and a force to be reckoned with.

Fri, 12/23/2011 - 1:53pm Permalink
newlibertarian (not verified)

As someone who's been up close and personal with the Libertarian Party, I offer these words of caution to all those thrilled about the potential Gary Johnson nomination.  Unlike in other political parties, the LP nominee does not get to pick his running mate - the convention delegates do.


Why does this matter?  Well, because I was a lock for the 2008 VP nomination until the party purists realized, to their collective horror, that Bob Barr would win the presidential nomination - and that's when all hell broke loose.  Even though the Supreme Court has ruled that nominating convention rules can not be changed once the game begins, the purists changed them anyway, desperate to elect a VP nominee that would doom the Barr campaign - which, as it turned out, wasn't necessary as Barr fucked things up pretty well on his own.


As Johnson has some decidedly un-Libertarian positions (Gitmo and Mid East policy), should he win the nomination the delegates may want to elect a purist in order to "keep an eye" on him.  And if they saddle Johnson with a Mary Ruwart or a Lee Wrights type nominee, it'll be bye-bye Gary.  Johnson could be the first LP nominee to break the million vote ceiling, but without an equally credible - or, hell, just not a nutjob - running mate, that distinction may need to wait until 2016.


Daniel Williams

Thu, 12/29/2011 - 5:24pm Permalink

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