Gary Johnson a 'nonfactor,' Priebus says
October 7th, 2012
11:09 AM ET
2 years ago

Gary Johnson a 'nonfactor,' Priebus says

(CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said he's not concerned that Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson will tip the scales in November.

"In fact, I see that it's almost a nonfactor," Priebus said on CNN's "State of the Union."

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With the presidential race in a statistical dead heat, Johnson's presence on the ballot could influence the horse race in crucial battleground states by pulling votes away from GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

However, Johnson's campaign told CNN last month that some of the candidate's popularity comes from former supporters of President Barack Obama in states like Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.

A new poll released Sunday by the University of Denver showed 47% of likely voters in Colorado said they would vote for Obama, while 43% chose Romney. Four percent, however, indicated they would vote for someone else.

Some have pointed to third-party candidate Ross Perot's significant share of the vote - 19% - in the 1992 presidential election, which is believed to have drawn support away from incumbent President George H. W. Bush.

Johnson, a former 2012 Republican presidential candidate who became the Libertarian nominee in May, is rarely included in national polls, but a recent CNN/ORC International Poll indicated 4% of likely voters back Johnson, while 3% support Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Obama, meanwhile, had 47%, with Romney at 44% when all four candidates were factored in.

However, Priebus argued Johnson lacks the popularity and name recognition to represent a strong enough threat to turn the election for either candidate.

"(Voters) are not going to throw their vote away when we have an election here that's about the future of America. I don't see that happening," Priebus told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

– CNN's Dan Merica contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: 2012 • Reince Priebus • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Michael Symonds

    Then why have they tried to knock Johnson off the ballot in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Virginia?

    October 7, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Ron Paul Rules!

    Ron Paul supporters will find Gary Johnson to be the best choice beyond Dr. Paul. We can't vote for Romney because the man is a pathological liar – with no actual plan. I'll vote for Johnson.

    October 7, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. Philip

    If Priebus isn't worried, how come his party is trying to force Johnson off the ballot in several states?? The reality is that Priebus has completely alienated the libertarian wing of his party, thus ensuring that none of them will vote for Romney. Furthermore if Johnson can poll 4% or 5% of the vote on about 0.05% of the publicity, imagine how well he would do if he had even half the publicity being lavished on (two of) the other candidates.

    October 7, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. georgedance

    Do the Republicans really think that all they have to do is call Obama a "Marxist" a lot, and all the libertarian voters will run out and vote for Romney? How well did that work for John McCain?

    October 7, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    Mr.Reince Priebus one debate won’t change the course , even after the debate many don’t trust Romney
    Some numbers from Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. Real factor for this election
    Nevada: Hispanic or Latino 27.1%
    New Mexico: Hispanic or Latino 46.7%
    Colorado: Hispanic or Latino 20.9%

    October 7, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. SafeJourney

    vic, Even romney himself said that he can not win the election without the Latino/Hispanic vote

    October 7, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. plain&simple

    It's funny to hear a republican talk about a wasted vote....when they work so hard to stop Americans from voting. No vote is wasted so long as you use them to express your views. Now It's up to the masses to express themselves.....this is why public education is so important. We don't need less eligible voters,just more education!!!

    October 7, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. obrot

    And what about Obama's camp. Have they been asked and have they answered the same question?

    October 7, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. PJ (the first one)

    I see Priebus as a "nonfactor".

    October 7, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. Marty, FL

    Of course, the RNC disparages Libertarians, since many Americans consider Johnson to be the true conservative candidate, not the flip-flopper Romney who changes positions and lies all the time.

    October 7, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Gurgyl

    Mitt is not even worth for cook of WH, true. He lies too much.

    October 7, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. atiboy15

    Priebus says one thing but then his party spends $$ on lawyers to try and remove Gary Johnson from the ballot
    in states like PA, OH, IOWA.

    Do not buy his crap that voting for Johnson is a "throw away" vote. Big things will start to happen for the Libertarian Party
    in 2016 if we can get at least 5% of the national vote

    October 7, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. Aidan

    Wasting your vote is voting for someone that you don't want elected. Johnson is the only viable candidate. Don't waste your vote on romney, vote for Johnson.

    October 7, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. enuff

    This isn't Romney's camp or Obama's camp that was asked this... it was the Republican PARTY.

    October 7, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. LIbertyorRegert

    Not only is Romney an inconsistent opportunist who will say whatever necessary in the moment, but he's a poor strategist and sport. At the RNC his team immediately changed the rules to eliminate the role of delegates in the future - a deliberate and unnecessary strike against Liberty-minded Ron Paul supporters, when he already had won the nomination. Now, after punching them in the face, his team is calling Liberty-minded individuals a non-factor, and in the same sentence asking for their vote.

    There is negligible difference between the two major parties - both violate the U.S. Constitution, so voting for a candidate who will uphold the Constitution, and who is socially tolerant and fiscally conservative is certainly not throwing away your vote. It's making a statement and, eventually, a difference.

    The duopoly is desperate to preserve power. I'm in Colorado. I plan to vote my conscience and for the Constitution, liberty, fiscal responsibility, and state's rights, and therefore Johnson. I see no difference between the main parties, but if Romney were to win, we'd face a potential of eight years of the same "leadership" that has stripped our rights, destroyed the middle class, and devalued our dollar. If Obama wins, we only face four more years of that before enough people might wake up enough to at least look into what the Liberty movement stands for.

    October 7, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. Chris

    Over the last six months, 90% of the people in my community ask, “Who’s Gary Johnson”. The 10% who know him are overwhelmingly Libertarian. They support Johnson, and yet say, “I’m a Libertarian. I love Johnson, but I won’t vote for him…because he can’t win.” If that type of sheep-think is widespread, Priebus is absolutely correct. I’m voting for Johnson, even though he can’t win this year. Hopefully, Johnson won't be bound and gagged in 2016.

    October 7, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. jane

    Ron Paul non-factor....NOW Gary Johnson non-factor....Keep selling the propaganda....We will have a three system!

    October 7, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain: Hey, networks, fact-check the debates in real-time and put it in the crawl!

    A "nonfactor" ... you WISH, Rinse! I will say that Johnson is consistent on his views; I just don't like the self-centered, dog-eat-dog philosophy of Libertarians. I think there are more reasonable, subtle ways of balancing the rights and responsibilities of individuals within a civil society ... and so I am voting for President Obama.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    October 7, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. SafeJourney

    Chris, The repubs will stop at nothing to, bound and gagged anyone that gets in their way., Just look what the repubs did to Gary Johnson and Ron Paul. And look at what the repubs are trying to do to the American People, trying to enforce new voting laws that can't possibly be enacted before the general election. Fortunately, American Judges did stop some of the repub voter suppression laws in the states. Thank God

    October 7, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. masterOfAll Creation

    Yeah, the Republicans claim Gary Johnson is a non-factor, yet they've spent millions filing lawsuits to keep Johnson off the ballot. What are they afraid of?

    October 7, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Timothy Moultrie - Lexington, SC

    Both Mitt and Barack refuse to face the economic truth facing this nation because both parties are wed to the warfare-welfare state. That, in and of itself, is the reason the Republican and Democrat parties will make themselves irrelevant. The U.S. borrows roughly 43 cents of every government dollar spent. The mathematics of this point inescapably to economic collapse. Libertarian Gary Johnson is proposing pro peace, pro civil liberties, pro true free market, pro rational budget solutions for the problems we face as a nation. This public school U.S. History teacher will cast his ballot for truth, reason, and liberty with my vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson. Economic suicide at the hand of either Mitt or Barack is equally unacceptable. Gary Johnson 2012 or Bust! (Seriously)

    October 7, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. Justin

    It's my humble opinion that Priebus has been at the bi-partisan corruption punch bowl way too long now. He ignorantly assumes, as do most of the "major party" players, that it's business as usual in american politics and that the opposition has no voice. That's a dangerous way to think in a nation where bloggers and youtubers are usurping the main stream media's hold on the news that matters. This will be the election that goes down in history as marking the end of the two-party duopoly that has plagued this nation for so long. Americans with real values are waking up to the fact that we don't need another "spokespreident" as I like to call them. The days of slick ad-men fronting the white house for the central bank are coming to an end, and men like Gary Johnson, and Ron Paul will live on in infamy for pulling open our eyes, prying us off the couch and freeing our minds from the facism we have been force fed for decades. The duopoly argues that the message of the founding fathers is outdated and moot in this world of corruption that they have spun around us, it's time to unleash the re-founding fathers and reform this nation to a fiscally responsible, and more importantly, morally respectable place for the free and the brave to flourish in.

    October 7, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  23. Tim Watroba

    Hopefully we as Libertarians can educate the seemingly blindfolded and deaf majority of our population. Voting for Gary Johnson now is as important as voting for him in 2016. Once people hear his name more and more they will become curious and maybe do a little research. I don't understand how it is so glaringly obvious to me that Obama and Romney are bad for our freedom and overall downright bad for we the people, yet the blue and red supporters seem ignorant as the day is long. Social media is the key I believe. I'm educating myself on daily basis so I can stand up to any argument given by the lemmings. 2016 is a reality for Johnson if we the people make it happen. Our work is cut out for us but now is the time that our voice will be heard. I want what I've only read about in history books. FREEDOM.

    October 7, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  24. Josh

    Keep up the arrogance GOP. As much as I dislike Obama do you really think I'm going to support you when you've done everything to silence and alienate all who disagree with you? You broke every rule you could think of to silence Ron Paul supporters. You have used dirty tricks and possibly illegal tactics to keep Johnson off the ballot in several states. In my view both Obama and the GOP are a wasted vote. I will vote for Johnson because I dislike Obama's policies and violations of civil liberties, but also because the GOP has made it quite clear they have no interest in the people and are arrogant enough to think we'll still vote for them.

    October 7, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. Colleen McCool

    Reince Priebus and other Republocrats deserve the bird because they have forsaken the American Dream.

    A declaration is an affirmation. Independence means self-government. They could have called The Declaration of Independence, The Affirmation of Self-Government! Aha! The Founders were libertarian.

    True Patriots believe in the American Dream: Self-Government, freedom from big government tyranny and oppression.

    Gary Johnson and Judge Jim Gray are the only choice to Save the American Dream: and to Restore Justice, the guardian of Liberty! The people believe in self-government and self-medication.

    October 7, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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