Former New Mexico gov. joins the GOP presidential pack of contenders
April 21st, 2011
10:45 AM ET
4 years ago

Former New Mexico gov. joins the GOP presidential pack of contenders

Washington (CNN) – Joining the colorful group of Republicans throwing their hats in the ring for the 2012 presidential nomination, is former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who announced his candidacy Thursday on the steps of New Hampshire's State House.

The libertarian-leaning Republican, who has been compared to the likes of Ron Paul, is an avid supporter of the legalization of marijuana, gay marriage, and abortion rights in most cases. Johnson is also a vocal advocate of cutting a huge chunk - 90 percent - of the defense budget.

"Today's mess didn't just happen. We elected it-one senator, member of Congress and president at a time," Johnson said in a statement. "Our leaders in Washington, D.C., have 'led' America to record unemployment, a devalued currency, banking scandals, the mortgage crisis, drug crisis, economic crisis, loss of our nation's industrial might - and a long list of other reminders our nation is way off course."

Johnson, who was New Mexico's governor for 1995 to 2003, has spent the past year traveling the country speaking about economic issues and raising money through his nonprofit political group, Our America Initiative. The group can raise unlimited donations from corporations and individuals but does not have tax status to fund a presidential campaign.

"I look at the rest of the field running for president, and that song by The Who comes to mind. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. You know the one. We 'Won't Get Fooled Again.' What's the definition of insanity? It is to keep doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different outcome," Johnson said. "I'm ready for a different America. I'm ready for the day when a person can build a good life on a decent income, and we can take our government at its word – when people have more to smile about. I'm ready for peace and prosperity and some American dreaming. I'm ready for America to be AMERICA again."

Johnson will spend the rest of the week in the key early campaign state of New Hampshire, meeting with potential supporters and visiting local businesses.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: 2012
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. sher

    Oh No? The looneys are out in force again? The guy is a complete failure,but he thinks Americans have forgot the Carnage the Gop has created over the last 10 years? Afraid Not,Sir" Your just another Gop failure,"Waiting to happen? Dems and "Smart independents will Vote you down. Are you the 45th repub running for potus?

    April 21, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. james Miller

    WOW !!!!! The Repub party is really the party of inclusion. --– At least all the whackos are "in the same room".

    April 21, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. terry,va

    This guy isn't a Repub. He needs to join Pelosi and the rest of the fruitcakes in CA.

    April 21, 2011 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Cut defense spending by 90%? That would work in the pre-industrialized world of 200 years ago, but not today.

    We need to invent a word for this type of mind set because there are a lot of them out there. They seem to reflect on the intent and purpose of the words in the founding documents of this nation. As if that thinking is how it should be. "George Washington never would spent money on fighter jets." Are you kiddng me?

    I've got it. The guns at the time of American Revolution were muskets. Let's call this type "musketeers".

    April 21, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. Michael

    I'm struggling to find someone – anyone – that demonstrates a balance between fiscal pragmatism and social tolerance. Is this guy it?

    April 21, 2011 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. annie s

    Wow, I really like paragraph 2. Pretty cool guy until you learn he thinks Roe v. Wade should be overturned, is against gay marriage, against Medicare, the Dept of Education and petty much all government programs that help its citizens. Still, a very interesting but unelectable candidate.

    April 21, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Sniffit

    "WOW !!!!! The Repub party is really the party of inclusion. –– At least all the whackos are "in the same room".

    ...and its walls are rubber.

    April 21, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. NameTre

    Gary Johnson is a fiscal conservative. While governor of New Mexico he kept the state in the black, one of only a few states in the black at the time. He's a liberatarian to the core. I doubt any of the mainstream parties would endorse him. Maybe that's the change we need in this country. I'm not sure decriminalizing marijuana and cocaine is what this country needs, as per Gary Johnson's beliefs. Nor do we need to cut defense spending by 90%. We do need something. different in this country. Is a liberatarian minded leadership it? That is yet to be determined...

    April 21, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. Bob Dog

    I like this guy. Hes the John Andersen of this generation. Great ideas, but special interests, paranoia, and his honesty will prevent him from getting anywhere.

    April 21, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  10. Al-NY,NY

    "is an avid supporter of the legalization of marijuana, gay marriage, and abortion rights in most cases."
    ----------

    Done, and done. The GOP will NEVER EVER accept a candidate who supports gay marriage and abortion rights.

    April 21, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    OK, I have lost track of how many Republicans are either announced they are running, forming exploratory committees, dropping subtle and less than subtle hints or have expressed interest in running for President. Here are the ones I remember: Romney, Huckabee, Palin, Gingrich, Bachmann, Rand Paul, Ron Paul, Trump, Santorum, Pawlenty, Daniels, Barbour, Huntsman, Cain, Roemer, Bolton. Did I miss anyone?

    April 21, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. Dave Harris

    It's hard to imagine Republicans supporting a true Libertarian who actually believes in a government that doesn't tell people who they can marry, what substances they can put in their body, what God the have to pray to, and how to plan their family. They only hate the government when Democrats are running it. Otherwise they can't get enough big brother, deficit-driven government, as they had under Bush.

    April 21, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. John H.

    Wow, that sure is a lot of bashing.

    Sher – I'm not exactly sure how you qualify the word failure with respect to Gov. Johnson. He is a successful business owner of a major construction company, former 2-term republican governor from a highly democratic state, has literally climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest, and speaks strongly on a wide range of issues (many of which you would probably agree with him on if you take a moment to review his actual record).

    James – See previous.

    Terry – Again, see previous, the man is a former Republican Governor. What exactly does it take to meet your standard of Republican membership?

    Rudy – I would recommend looking into Johnson's actual record and views on defense. He believes in a strong national defense and the CNN article is misleading to say the least.

    Michael – Yes, he is.

    April 21, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  14. rusty155

    It just a another fruit cake ,just like the rest of the Republican party nomination this Is becoming a Big Joke. And making the Republican look really bad.

    April 21, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. Clwyd

    Finally a republican who can think for himself and wasn't made out of the same right wing mold of racist,nut cases on the extreme right!

    April 21, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. markiejoe

    If he was a Democrat, he might have a chance. But as a Republican? When hell freezes.

    April 21, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    annie s

    Wow, I really like paragraph 2. Pretty cool guy until you learn he thinks Roe v. Wade should be overturned, is against gay marriage, against Medicare, the Dept of Education and petty much all government programs that help its citizens. Still, a very interesting but unelectable candidate.

    --------------

    The libertarian-leaning Republican, (who has been compared to the likes of Ron Paul), is an avid supporter of the legalization of marijuana, gay marriage, and abortion rights in most cases. Johnson is also a vocal advocate of cutting a huge chunk – 90 percent – of the defense budget.

    -------------–

    Did you vote for "Dubya"?

    April 21, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. Republican Robber Baron

    "Cutting 90% of the Defense Budget"

    As nice as that sounds...in reality all that would accomplish is take us back to Defense spending $ to the pre-Bush II era. Since Bush took office in '01, the defense budget almost doubled. Something Fox News – Fact Don't Matter – will NEVER tell their zombie audience.

    April 21, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. Angie

    They're really starting to come out of the woodwork now.

    April 21, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    Ho-hum. We shall see.

    April 21, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. Jack

    "Colorful group of Republicans"–man, is that an understatement!

    April 21, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. Republican Robber Baron

    The Pharma-lobby machine would NEVER allow the GOP to pick any candidate that advocates for National de-criminalization of marijuana – as it would be a direct threat to their revenue stream. Especially since people theoretically grow it in their backyard for FREE. Can't compete with free...they will throw everything including the kitchen sink to stop marijuana for medicinal use as alternative to big Pharma.

    April 21, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. JeremyNABQ

    Johnson was a great governor. If I hadn't lived here during his tenure I'd think he was nuts, but he's the only republican I would vote for.

    April 21, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    John S.

    I don't need to look this guy up. Those praising his governership need to recognize the time frame when he served as Governer, 1995-2003, which began as time of relative prosperity and ended during the recession instigated by Alan Greenspan's piddling with interest rates in an attempt to slow an economy that he felt was growing to fast.

    Despite your gentle words, I really have to question the wisdom, particularly the "defense policy" of a mere state governer. Because the truth of the matter is that a state governer does not have or need a "defense policy". Anyone who thinks they can cut DoD by 90% is living in a fantasy world. The guy's a "musketeer".

    April 21, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. C. Howe Yulikit

    Wow, this guy could poll in the 2% range and really throw the election Rick Santorum's way! Bwahahaha! Another clown in the car for the GOP.

    April 21, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |