Washington (CNN) – Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson said Thursday his path to victory for the Republican presidential nomination is predicated on a strong showing in New Hampshire, the early primary state that can make or break a bid for the White House.
Johnson, who is polling in the low single digits in national polls, said he's not necessarily skipping Iowa, the first state to weigh in on the 2012 GOP nomination, but acknowledged his centrist views on social issues will not play very well in the Hawkeye State.
He said his brand of retail politics will be successful in New Hampshire and after his showing there the "light really goes bright."
"What you do with the bright light, that's success or failure," Johnson told CNN.
But fundraising for the former business owner, who is not independently wealthy, remains an obstacle.
"You'll look at it and think this is pathetic," Johnson said of his first quarter financial filing. "It's not bad but it's certainly not robust."
Known for his nearly 800 vetoes as governor, Johnson said he will take a similar stance as president of the United States, opposing all tax increases, eliminating the corporate income tax and advocating against government intervention in health care, housing foreclosures and foreign wars.
Though some have associated him with the Libertarian Party because of his limited-government principles and his more moderate stances on abortion and gay marriage, Johnson said he will not run as a Libertarian candidate in the next presidential election.
"The idea of getting elected actually appeals to me more," Johnston said.
The former two-term governor, who announced his run for president in April, would also expect to unite Republicans in the general election, even those that might oppose his more liberal social stances. Johnson is pro-choice and favors states' rights on gay marriage although he would be open to intervention by the federal government.
For now Johnson, an avid outdoorsman, is enjoying the rigors of a presidential campaign and maintains nobody is yet winning in the polls.
"I would not be doing this if I didn't think I could do it," Johnson said. "This is one of life's great adventures and I get to partake in it … It's exciting, it's blood boiling."
– Gary Johnson will appear Friday on CNN's "John King, USA" at 7 p.m. ET.