The Libertarian Party of Florida will host a campaign stop for Republican presidential hopeful Gary Johnson. The partnership is leading many to speculate that Johnson, a two-term New Mexico governor, may drop out of the GOP to run as a Libertarian. Florida Libertarians, for their part, say they would welcome the “anti-war, limited-government candidate” with open arms.
The Save America Foundation and the 1787 Network will be helping to organize a Johnson appearance in Clearwater on Dec. 12; the candidate will speak at a conference center and later at a meet-and-great at a nearby steakhouse. Both events are free and open to the public.
In a press release, the Libertarian Party of Florida said Johnson had been given the “cold shoulder” by his fellow Republicans and the media, who have all but shut him out of the race. “Though his positions on decriminalizing marijuana and eliminating restrictions on gay marriage appeal to civil libertarians, they are a bitter pill for the socially conservative GOP,” reads a new press release from the party.
“We’re definitely attempting to recruit Gary,” said Adrian Wyllie, Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida. “We’re hoping he decides to join the LP and compete for the nomination.”
The Libertarians have ballot access in all 50 states — making for a pretty convincing pitch for Johnson, who appears to be weighing his options. In a radio interview last Friday, Johnson said that he is “absolutely considering” running as a Libertarian. “And I would hope that if that does take place, that I could be the best spokesman possible for these issues that face us, looking at it from a libertarian, freedom, equality perspective,” said Johnson.
Johnson also told the Sante Fe New Mexican that he felt “abandoned by the Republican Party,” which he feels has “left [him] by the wayside.”
In September, Johnson appeared alongside his fellow Republican presidential candidates at CPAC Florida, when he made headlines for delivering a now-infamous quip regarding President Obama’s stimulus plan during a GOP debate televised on Fox News: “My next-door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.”