August 8, 2016

Gary Johnson to hold NM rally this week

Andy Lyman

Gary Johnson filmed by a documentary crew

Less than a week before Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence is scheduled to headline a fundraiser in New Mexico, the Libertarian Party ticket will hold a public rally in Albuquerque.

Gary Johnson hears from supporters in his campaign office

Andy Lyman

Gary Johnson hears from supporters in his campaign office

The Gary Johnson campaign told NM Political Report that Johnson and his running mate Bill Weld will appear at the Albuquerque Convention Center this Thursday, the first such rally by Johnson in New Mexico since he became the Libertarian Party presidential nominee.

Many in New Mexico still remember Johnson from his two terms as governor. Often referred to as “Governor No,” Johnson takes pride in the high number of bills he vetoed while in office.

Weld is a former two-term governor of Massachusetts. Like Johnson, Weld was a Republican when he served as governor.

While many Democratic officials in the state, even those who initially supported Bernie Sanders, seem to take little issue with supporting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, some Republicans have not endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Gov. Susana Martinez has been critical of some of Trump’s more inflammatory comments and has not yet endorsed the Republican candidate.

State Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, told NM Political Report last month that it was too early for him to weigh in on the presidential election. Ingle spoke highly of Johnson.

“He was an excellent governor he stood his ground,” Ingle said.

Other high profile New Mexico Republicans have opted to endorse Johnson instead of Trump.

Sen. Lisa Torraco, R-Albuquerque, announced she would vote for Johnson for president. Darren White, who was a cabinet official under Johnson and had a public falling out with him over legalization of marijuana, also publicly endorsed Johnson. Blair Dunn, a Republican candidate for state senate and the son of New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, is working with the local Johnson campaign.

Since announcing his intention to run earlier this year, Johnson has been encouraging voters to “Google Gary Johnson” in an attempt to appeal to voters who may be hesitant to vote for Clinton or Trump.

Johnson has also maintained that he will have a shot at taking up residence in the White House if he appears on the debate stage with Trump and Clinton. To qualify for a series of three nationally televised debates, Johnson needs to poll at 15 percent in select national polls. Johnson hasn’t hit that 15 percent number in any national polls yet.

Last year, Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein joined together in a lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates, alleging the commission actively kept third party candidates out of national debates. A judge recently ruled Johnson and Stein had no legal grounds to sue the commission.  

Johnson often makes his way back home between campaign stops, but the rally this week marks his first public appearance in New Mexico since his Libertarian nomination.