Welcome to the POTUS Race, Gary Johnson

Libertarian and ex-NM governor throws his hat in the ring
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2016 1:40 PM CST
In this Sept 23, 2011, photo, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in Orlando, Fla.   (AP Photo/Joe Burbank, Pool, File)

(Newser) – In a move Gawker says will "[render] Rand Paul even more irrelevant," former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson announced Wednesday he's running for president. "I want to take this opportunity to announce my candidacy for president; I am hoping to get the Libertarian nomination," Johnson told Fox Business Network's Neil Cavuto, followed shortly afterward by a tweet that said, "Game on! America deserves another choice in #2016presidentialelections." Reason.com notes Johnson resigned his position earlier this week as head of Cannabis Sativa, which promotes legal cannabis products. He told Cavuto the biggest issue facing the US is "the $20 trillion debt we will have when Obama leaves office" and notes government today is "unwieldy" and "out of control." "Hillary is a known quantity who's not going to win all of those voters," he tells the Washington Post. "And if Trump's the Republican nominee ... a large number of people will want an alternative."

Johnson's announcement, while a bit of a surprise this late in the game, isn't a total shocker: Politico notes that in October he penned a blog post titled "Why I would run for President," in which he took on both parties and ripped on Paul, noting, "in [Paul's] quest to have one foot in the libertarian camp and the other in the establishment Republican museum, he has emerged with a vague mix of positions that is clearly not compelling." "There is a price to be paid for selling out—and he is paying it," Johnson added. The self-made millionaire also ran for the nation's top spot in 2012, claiming about 1% of the total electorate, per Politico. "[My candidacy] was kind of a commitment from the last go-round that I made to a lot of people," he tells the Post. "I'll be the first one to say that I don't think I did very well at all! But everyone else has said … that it was a very successful, very significant campaign for the party." (GOP insiders have been predicting Paul's demise in the race for a while.)

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