Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Aubrey Dunn is set to drop out of his race and a high-profile Libertarian is considering taking his place. Dunn’s son and Libertarian candidate for New Mexico Attorney General Blair Dunn confirmed that Aubrey Dunn, the state land commissioner, is dropping out of the race and will release more information next week. Former Republican governor and 2016 Libertarian candidate for president Gary Johnson is considering taking Aubrey Dunn’s place, according to his former campaign manager, Ron Nielson. Nielson told NM Political Report on Friday that Johnson was “weighing it out” and would decide to run if he determines it’s a winnable race. Earlier this week, Nielson’s media company, The Jack News, published an interview between Nielson and Johnson in which the former two-term governor hinted at getting back into politics, despite his previous statements that he was done running for office.
For the first time in state history, the Libertarian Party of New Mexico held a pre-primary convention to vote nominees for state and federal offices. Because all six candidates were unopposed, there wasn’t the contention usually expected at major party nominating conventions. Instead, party members focused on celebrating the party’s move towards prominence and public visibility in the New Mexico political sphere. “This is, by far and away, the most visibility the party has successfully achieved in the state,” Libertarian Party of New Mexico Vice-Chair Helen Milenski said. Still, the group of about 100 attendees spent the day meeting the candidates and listening to their stump speeches.
While both New Mexico Democrats and Republicans were carefully watching national election numbers roll in on Tuesday night hoping for a win for their candidate, Gary Johnson supporters in Albuquerque were cheering for the win of getting the support of three percent of voters nationwide and nine percent in New Mexico. A few hours before Donald Trump gave an acceptance speech, the Libertarian Party nominee and his supporters were near Old Town in Albuquerque, celebrating what was ultimately a presidential loss. But they didn’t see the showing as a loss, instead seeing the best showing for a Libertarian candidate ever. Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark kept on eye on the numbers throughout the night, but seemed more concerned with his party’s numbers and less concerned with the numbers of the two candidates who finished well ahead of Johnson. Sarwark and his party also seem focused on the long game—eventually getting even footing with the two major parties—during this election cycle.
Gary Johnson is headed back to New Mexico for a campaign rally—and for a lengthy bike ride. The former New Mexico governor, now the Libertarian Party nominee for president, will rally in Santa Fe Plaza this Saturday, his campaign announced. While most of those attending will presumably be taking cars, Johnson will show up after a bike ride from Taos to Santa Fe. The rally, which will take place at 3:00 p.m., is the second such rally in New Mexico in as many weeks for Johnson. In an Research and Polling/Albuquerque Journal poll conducted late last month, Johnson received 24 percent of the vote.
The Libertarian Party wants their presidential nominee to receive the national security briefings the two major party nominees have already received, but it appears the party’s nominee doesn’t qualify for those briefings. The political party announced Thursday it filed a formal request with the General Services Administration to pave the way for briefings for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian PArty nominee. Johnson, a former two-term governor of New Mexico, is running for president as a Libertarian for the second presidential election in a row. This time, the Libertarian Party feels that Johnson should be on the same level for these briefings as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump. At least when it comes to national security briefings.
Gary Johnson is putting some money behind ads to boost his campaign in a handful states, including his home state of New Mexico. The Libertarian Party presidential nominee, a former two-term governor of New Mexico, is airing radio ads in seven states, according to Politico. The Washington D.C.-based news organization cited “a media buying source” who said Johnson is spending over $800,000 in Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin. When Johnson ran as a Libertarian Party candidate in 2012, he performed best in New Mexico, taking nearly 4 percent of the overall vote. Nationwide, Johnson received just under 1 percent of the vote.
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. 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.
Some key players in the Libertarian Party weighed in on why former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has remained relatively low in recent election polls. In a recent MSNBC interview, Johnson pointed to polls that included Green Party nominee Jill Stein as one reason he hasn’t been able to break the much needed 15 percent to get into the general election presidential debates this fall alongside presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. Austin Petersen, who sought the Libertarian Party nomination but then backed Johnson, told NM Political Report that Johnson’s low numbers should be taken seriously, given there is less than five months until the general election. “It’s definitely time to worry because the national election is in November and that’s going to sneak up on us,” Petersen said. One of Johnson’s mistakes, Petersen said, was trying to appeal to Bernie Sanders’ supporters instead of Republicans who don’t agree with their party’s nominee.
It’s Thursday afternoon and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson just arrived in Orlando for the Libertarian National Convention. In a makeshift campaign office, he’s shaking hands and listening to concerned Libertarians. Having arrived on the scene about 12 hours before Johnson, I’ve already scoped out the area. This is part two of a two-part story. Read part one here.
To see all of Andy Lyman’s reporting about the Libertarian National Convention, see our full series.
ORLANDO — When I told friends I was headed to the Libertarian National Convention, many assumed I would be surrounded by a group of gun-toting, pot-smoking Republicans who advocate total anarchy. This proved to be untrue—mostly. Note: This is part one of a two-part series by Andy Lyman on the weekend at the Libertarian National Convention. Part two will run on Saturday. For all of Andy Lyman’s stories from Orlando, see The 2016 Libertarian National Convention series.
Aside from a rotund candidate for national Libertarian Party chair stripping down to a thong while dancing on stage and some outspokenly frustrated anarchists, the conference was largely tame.