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Gary Johnson Enters the New Mexico Senate Race

             8/20/2018

Gary Johnson

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Failed libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is launching a late bid attempt for the US Senate seat in New Mexico.

On Tuesday afternoon, Johnson made his late entry into the race official, tweeting out “New Mexico deserves a strong, independent voice in the U.S. Senate” and sharing his first campaign ad. The biographical ad, titled “You Know Gary Johnson,” was paid for by Elect Liberty, a pro-Johnson political action committee based in Utah.

Pundits are curious to see who Johnson pulls more votes from; Heinrich or Rich, as Johnson notably pulled more votes from Hillary than from Trump in 2016.

Republican candidate Mick Rich blasted Johnson on Tuesday, telling the Santa Fe New Mexican that Johnson’s socially liberal positions will draw votes from Heinrich and said that Johnson is “more in sync with [Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders] than he is with Republicans.” Johnson himself said in 2016 that a political ideology test showed he agreed with the socialist from Vermont on “73 percent of the issues.”

Last October, after an extended disappearance from public life, Johnson told the Washington Post’s David Weigel: “I’m never going to be a candidate again.” But then the New Mexico Libertarian Party came knocking after its U.S. Senate candidate dropped out, and the former two-term governor changed his mind as a result.

It will be interesting to see how Johnson addresses the issue of President Trump, someone he was critical of during his presidential run. The president has had an unusually powerful presence in congressional races this year.

More than anything else his leap into the Senate race is a wake-up call for incumbent Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich, who had been coasting to an easy re-election over his underfunded novice opponent Mick Rich.

Will Johnson's bid for Senate be another failed attempt in a long line of Libertarian candidates, or will he pull off a political miracle?

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