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Gary Johnson Interview with

March 13, 2012Posted in Blog, News

March 12, 2012
Las Vegas Review - Journal
By Laura Myers

LIBERTARIAN ASPIRATIONS

The day before the “Super Tuesday” Republican presidential contests in 10 states last week, Libertarian White House candidate Gary Johnson was hanging out in Las Vegas.

He was raising money and touring the Red Rock Resort, site of the National Libertarian Convention on May 2-6 where he hopes to win the Libertarian presidential nomination.

The former two-term New Mexico governor became the Libertarian front-runner after he switched parties and dropped out of the GOP presidential race last year. Most voters couldn’t even name the other Libertarian contenders, a group of half a dozen hopefuls running on the margins.

Johnson said he continued his White House bid to give voters fed up with the two main political parties an alternative choice besides the GOP nominee or Obama, a Democrat.

“The agenda that I’m trying to promote is really along the same lines as Ron Paul for the most part, but I don’t see Ron Paul winning the Republican primary,” Johnson said in an interview, referring to the Texas congressman. “When he loses, his message goes dead unless I stay in the race.”

Both Paul and Johnson want to slash federal spending, legalize drugs, pull back U.S. military forces for a noninterventionist foreign policy, reform immigration and promote civil liberties.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s recent report card on presidential candidates gave Johnson the highest rating, 21 “liberty torches,” compared with Paul’s 18. Obama got 16, while Newt Gingrich got four. Both former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, got a zero ACLU rating.

Johnson dismisses the idea that he could be a spoiler in the presidential race, drawing more votes from the Republican nominee than Obama and helping the president’s re-election bid.

“I think I take from both parties,” Johnson said, adding that Democrats and Republicans are fed up with the status quo. “I happen to believe the Libertarian Party embodies the best of both parties.”

The Libertarian Party is said to be the fastest-growing alternative political party in the U.S., although there’s only about 225,000 registered Libertarians nationwide — less than one quarter of 1 percent of registered voters. In Nevada, 6,528 voters are registered Libertarian as of February, a bit more than half of 1 percent among about 1 million registered voters.

Joe Silvestri, chairman of the Nevada Libertarian Party, said his goal is to get enough candidates to run to maintain legal presence on the ballot by gaining at least 1 percent of the vote statewide. Silvestri plans to run for Congress, pursuing the new 4th Congressional District, for example.

The state Libertarian party held its convention at the end of February and endorsed Johnson.

“We’re absolutely committed to electing Libertarians to office,” Silvestri said, adding he has few illusions given limited funds and support. “I’m realistic about what our candidates can do. We’re not going to elect a Libertarian president. But we want to give people a true third party.”

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