Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has been a marijuana legalization advocate since 1999 and medicinal pot smoker from 2005-2008, outspoken critic of the “social conservative fringe” of the Republican Party, has called for a 43% reduction in defense spending, and has been outside of the mainstream political dialogue and elected office since 2002. That said, Gov. Johnson feels "The Republican Party has left me by the wayside."
Gov. Johnson is currently running for president in the GOP primary but told the Santa Fe New Mexican Wednesday that he feels "abandoned by the Republican Party," and is considering going elsewhere:
"In an interview Wednesday, he said he's seriously considering running for the Libertarian Party nomination for president.
'I feel abandoned by the Republican Party,' Johnson said in a phone interview. 'The Republican Party has left me by the wayside.'
He's been left out of all but two of the seemingly endless Republican presidential debates. His fundraising is low and his poll numbers are below radar level.
'If I'd have been included in 16 of the last debates we wouldn't even be having this conversation,' Johnson said.
Johnson said there have been 'overtures made' by the Libertarian Party. While there's no guarantee he'd win the nomination, Johnson believes he'd have a fair chance."
Gov. Johnson is an avid triathlete that led New Mexico during two successful terms from 1995-2003, leaving the state with a budget surplus after creating 20,000 new jobs and cutting taxes 14 times without ever raising them. As a candidate, Gov. Johnson calls for a complete elimination of the corporate income tax and an internet free of regulation and taxation.While fellow libertarian-leaning candidate Texas Rep. Ron Paul has seen increasing support and been very much a part of the national dialogue, the successful private and public sector executive Johnson has been largely ignored.
Gov. Johnson received a letter from the Republican National Committee Tuesday in regards to the candidate's request for help getting included in televised GOP debates and by polling organizations. The Santa Fe New Mexican writes of the RNC's response:
"The letter, written by the national party's chief counsel, John R. Phillippe Jr., pointed out that there are 21 Republican hopefuls who have filed in the New Hampshire primary. 'We simply have to have some minimum criteria in order for candidates to participate in these debates,' Phillippe wrote. 'Otherwise, the debates would be utter chaos and unhelpful to Republican voters as we select our nominee.'
Phillippe said the threshold for getting into party-sanctioned debates is $1 million in third-quarter fundraising or having an average of 3 percent in polls as averaged by the Real Clear Politics website. "
Gov. Johnson received $236,193 in Third Quarter Fundraising. The former New Mexico Governor is not listed among the top 8 GOP candidates averaged by Real Clear Politics.