Exploring Possible 2012 Presidential Candidates: Gary Johnson

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson could very well be the sleeper no one expected to win, candidate in the 2012 presidential elections. This budget hawk was the Governor of New Mexico for 8 solid years in which he proved a formidable foe to big spending State politicians from both parties. In another surprise, he also placed 3rd in the recent CPAC 2011 presidential straw poll beating the likes of big name con-servatives such as Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin,, and Mike Huckabee. Of note is that the CPAC straw poll was dominated by Ron Paul and his supporters once again, as Mr. Paul won with 30% of the votes.  Also of note is that many people consider Mr. Johnson to be a Ron Paul- type Libertarian, yet when we take a close look at Mr. Johnson’s credentials we see two very different politicians. For all of Ron Paul’s bluster, he simply hasn’t accomplished the budgetary success, or proven to be as effective at slowing down big government, as Mr. Johnson has.

29th Governor of New Mexico*
In office
January 1, 1995 – January 1, 2003
Lieutenant Walter Bradley
Preceded by Bruce King
Succeeded by Bill Richardson

Born January 1, 1953 (1953-01-01) (age 58)
Minot, North Dakota
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Dee Simms (1977-2005) (divorced)
Alma mater University of New Mexico
Profession Businessman
Religion Lutheranism

Another fact to consider is that Mr. Johnson could run as a Republican, Libertarian, or even on the Teaparty ticket if the GOP forces the forming of another party by not heeding the warnings of the 2010 mid-term elections. This man also doesn’t fit the mold of the big spending old guardGOP RINOS that helped spend us towards $15 Trillion in national debt the last decade. That is a huge plus for a presidential candidate to woo the voters who are fed up with business as usual in DC. I  am already seeing Democratic operatives trying to downplay Mr. Johnson’s credentials, and pass him off as some kind of Ron Paul light, which should tell the voters that he would be a formidable opponent to far left Barack Obama in 2012.

Mr. Johnson took a controversial stance while Governor of New Mexico in 1999, when he advocated the legalization of marijuana. Citing the huge costs of  States prosecuting and jailing drug offenders, he suggested it be treated as a health issue instead of a criminal issue. He also admitted to self-medicating himself with marijuana after a very serious hang gliding accident in 2005, yet today he says he abstains from all recreational drug use, including alcohol, caffeine and some sugar products.

Mr. Johnson is also a very successful businessman, turning his handyman service into a multi-billion dollar construction company with over 1000 employees. Now that is what I call job creation, contrary to President Obama’s agenda of government intrusion into the private sector businesses. Mr. Johnson has traveled to over 30 states recently, possibly to give himself name recognition for the 2012 primaries and elections. He re-buffed invitations to join the Libertarian Party in the 2000 elections and endorsed Ron Paul for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination. Looking back at that election, endorsing Ron Paul over the other candidates doesn’t look like such a mistake on Johnson’s part, considering where we are today. Bottom line is that people need to look at proven track records and experience when voting today, and ignore the media hype and party-line propaganda. In Mr. Johnson’s track record we see some very impressive  statistics against big government spending, which is the most pressing issue in America today. He fought against both parties in his eight years in office, to cut spending and balance the budget successfully. He used the line item veto thousands of times, more than all 49 other governors combined. He cut the growth rate of New Mexico’s government in half. He currently lives in Taos, New Mexico and has 2 grown children. He was married to his wife, Dee Johnson for 28 years and they divorced in 2005, and she passed away in Dec. of 2006 of heart disease.

This man is a proven fiscal hawk along the lines of Paul Ryan, with the proven ability to work with both parties to cut down the size and scope of our government. He will have great appeal to the Teaparty and independent voters alike. The main problem is whether the Old Guard GOP would be willing to extend a hand to him to break their pattern of nominating proven Crony-Rinos, which would only ensure Obama gets reelected in 2012. This man certainly deserves a serious consideration for the Republican nomination for President in 2012.

*Stats provided by wikipedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_E._Johnson

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Rich Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Bald Eagle Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

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  1. Excellent write-up. As a Johnson fan, I was pleasantly surprised by Johnson’s third place showing at CPAC, given the fact that he barely managed to score a speaking slot only a couple days before the event. I also doubt many Ron Paul folks abandoned their fearless leader for Johnson — Gov. Johnson earned his third place finish. This should at least get him a spot in the debates.

    I think Dem. insiders fear Johnson for a couple of reasons:

    1) Without a Dem. Primary, Johnson could attract support from natural Democrat constituencies who have reason to oppose Obama — civil libertarians and voters who want to bring home the troops from Afghanistan.

    2) Johnson would have major appeal to swing voters. Unlike many tea party/constitutionalist conservatives, Johnson approaches the issues with a practical cost-benefit analysis. It’s an approach that appeals to swing voters (although it doesn’t always stir the passions of conservatives).

    A recent poll demonstrated this:
    In his home state of New Mexico, Johnson has better favorability numbers than any other Republican, local or national. Why? Because of his significant appeal with Dems and independents. He has a favorable/unfavorable among 2008 Obama voters of 42/39%. Impressive numbers for one of our most fiscally conservative Governors in recent memory. Johnson also has a 52% favorability among Hispanics — he favors work visas (“work, not welfare”) and never fails to speak highly of immigrants.

    Here’s the poll:

    1. Hi Ben, and thank you for taking the time to weigh in on Gary Johnson.
      I have a couple of questions for you if you don’t mind. I live in Florida and am not really too familar with New Mexico politics. Is Johnson somehow contemplating a 2012 Senate run also, or would that possibly be his back-up plan if he fails to get the presidential nomination?
      Are you a libertarian from N M ? On the link you posted to Public policy here, I see someone calling Johnson Anti-War and Anti-Fed. That seems to me to be the baseless bashing of a candidate, as that statement could mean lots of different things. They also use that statement to say Republicans won’t vote for him because of it. I don’t agree with that at all. With over 14 trillion in National Debt, I personally think the whole darn country better be Anti-Fed, if thats what anti-fed stands for. Won’t be any country left if we don’t take a stand on stopping feeding the Fed and making it bigger.
      Have you voted in our new straw poll here yet? I see Gary is doing Ok so far.

      With the dangers we face today of total financial collapse, and States teetering on the brink of bankruptcy I want a fiscal hawk. If he supports gays and pot,or once did, I say big frigging deal. Herman Cain summed it up at CPAC when he said people, you need to grow up and realize that the perfect candidate does not exist. If you are waiting for one, we will lose to Obama in 2012 because they aren’t out there. I didn’t know about him (Gary) favoring work visa’s, as in work not welfare. That plan is needed across our nation and not just concerning immigrants. The biggest plus I see about Gary is the fact that he isn’t a lawyer/lobbyist like Haley Barbour. He worked his way up and built a company from scratch.You simply can’t do that successfully without good fiscal responsibility and budgeting skills and determination.

      When Republicans (I am a reg. Independent)say they want a new face, and new blood, I say we need a DC outsider to come in and install some fiscal sanity, period. Gary loves to wield the veto pen against big spending politicians and their cronies. So far noone comes close to having the proven determination and mettle to cut government down to a manageable size, from the other Republican candidates that I see so far.

      I wasn’t a Johnson fan when I wrote this article. I tried to make it as unbiased as I could, simply to inform voters about him. The more I do learn about him, the better he stacks up against any of the old guard GOP so far. Gary’s approaching all issues from a practical cost-benefit analysis is the most important qualification we need today, simply because everything the government does costs the taxpayer money. Getting those costs down is job 1 in 2012, and we all know Obama sure isn’t going to do that. Just look at the farce of his “proposed budget” today.

  2. Hi Daniel:

    No, I’m not a NM resident. I saw Gary Johnson speak at a tea party event in Boston and I’ve been a following him closely ever since. I’m convinced he’s the best candidate the GOP has to address our country’s looming fiscal nightmare. With most of the other candidates, I have little or no faith they will govern any differently than Bush did (ie, little better than Obama on spending).

    If there’s an open Senate seat in NM, Johnson would be the frontrunner. I have no idea if he’d even consider this. But if his Presidential campaign goes nowhere, we need him in the Senate. The incumbent Senator is supposed to announce next month whether he’s retiring or not.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see Johnson come in third in the CPAC straw poll. Given that he’s virtually unknown and barely scored a speaking slot just days before the event, it’s a very good sign for his prospects.

    Thanks for the heads up on the CDN poll!

  3. Gary Johnson is naive, underexperienced – all he did is veto, not immerse in issues – and worst of all he a loner and a total narcissist. Sound familiar? Be scared of Scary Gary.

    1. Hmmm 8 years of battle in an idebted state, where he left them with a surplus while fighting big-spending entrenched politicians… and he is supposed to be naive? Bashing someone without any FACTS certainly sounds familar.

      FYI I am not in favor of him one way or the other. I am a reg Independent voter. Gary has very strong budget skills and has a proven tranck record of getting it done no matter WHICH party has the majority.

      I do thank you for joining the conservation, but i wish you would add soemthing of substance, whish is the whole point of looking at all the candidates here at CDN.

  4. He is Ron Paul…who has climbed Mt. Everest, never been to Washington, and has a life time of executive experience. Can we stop floating “inexperienced” “unqualified” lables? We currently have a president with zero experience. Gary plans to cut the size of the federal budget immediately by 43%. Imagine if he works out a compromise for even 21%. It will change everything. I am volunteering today.

    1. Hi Will, Thanks for sharing your thoughts here at CDN.

      Personally, I want someone who is not a DC insider. Just like in the Mafia, the biggest, smartest and most ruthless crook is the boss. He nows how to cheat the system, and in politics for the most part, the biggest corrupto-crats are the ones who have been there the longest and know how to play the game.

      Approaching 15 trillion in debt tells me one thing: It is time to change the damn game! New faces and new blood. First and foremost we need a fiscal hawk in the Whitehouse, and one who isn’t afraid to get in the trenches and fight against both parties. Johnson certainly fits that bill. He signed all those vetoes against more spending and more bloated government programs, and New mexico still exists today and is better off for it.

      I am sure they threatened him with the “government shutdown” B/S that the idiot-Dems in DC are doing today too, yet he never caved and they never shut down.Thats all a lousy lie of a bluff up in D./C.

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