The 2012 presidential campaign of Gary Johnson, the 29th "Governor of New Mexico, was announced on April 21, 2011. He declared his candidacy for the "2012 Republican Party nomination for "President of the United States. On December 28, 2011, Johnson withdrew his candidacy for the Republican nomination, and declared his candidacy for the 2012 presidential nomination of the "Libertarian Party. The "2012 Libertarian National Convention was held during the first weekend of May 2012. On May 5, 2012, after promoting "his libertarian-oriented political positions to delegates, Johnson received the most votes at the convention and became the official 2012 Libertarian presidential nominee. On November 6, 2012, Johnson received just under 1% of the popular vote in the "general election, amounting to more than 1.2 million votes, more than double what the "Barr/Root ticket received in 2008. This was the most successful result for a third-party presidential candidacy since "2000, and the best in the Libertarian Party's history by vote number at the time. (Johnson "ran again in 2016 and received nearly four times his 2012 vote total.)
Johnson initially indicated interest in running for president in the "2012 election in 2009. In October of that year, he founded the "Our America Initiative, a "501(c)(4) "nonprofit political advocacy committee that promotes common-sense business approaches to governing." The stated focus of the organization was to "...speak out on issues regarding topics such as government efficiency, lowering taxes, ending the war on drugs, protecting "civil liberties, revitalizing the economy and promoting entrepreneurship and privatization." The move prompted speculation among media pundits and Johnson's supporters as to whether he was laying the groundwork for a 2012 presidential run.
In December 2009, Johnson hired strategist Ron Nielson of NSON Opinion Strategy to organize the committee. Nielson has worked with Johnson since 1993 when he ran his successful gubernatorial campaign.
Throughout 2010, Johnson repeatedly deflected questions regarding his potential presidential candidacy by explaining that his 501(c)(4) status forbade him from expressing a desire to run for federal office. Despite his evasiveness on the subject, speculation of a 2012 presidential bid by Johnson continued to be fueled by his increasing outspokeness concerning key issues affecting the "United States, particularly "the size and cost of government" and the ""deficits and debt that truly threaten to consume the U.S. economy, and which represent the single greatest threat to our national security."
In February 2011, Johnson was a featured speaker at both the "Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and the "Republican Liberty Caucus. Johnson tied with New Jersey Governor "Chris Christie for third in the CPAC Straw Poll, trailing only "Ron Paul and "Mitt Romney. In that poll, he placed ahead of such notables as former "Speaker of the House "Newt Gingrich, former Minnesota Governor "Tim Pawlenty, Indiana Governor "Mitch Daniels and former Alaska Governor and "2008 "Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. "David Weigel of "Slate called Johnson the second-biggest winner of the conference, writing that his "third-place showing in the straw poll gave Johnson his first real media hook ... He met tons of reporters, commanded a small scrum after the vote, and is a slightly lighter shade of dark horse now."
On April 21, 2011 Johnson officially announced via "Twitter that he was running for president. He followed this announcement with a speech at the "New Hampshire State House in "Concord, New Hampshire.
Johnson focused the majority of his Republican campaign activities on the "New Hampshire primary.
Johnson chose Ron Nielson of NSON Opinion Strategy, the director of both of his two New Mexico gubernatorial campaigns, as his presidential campaign manager and senior advisor. His campaign was run from "Salt Lake City, "Utah, where Nielson's offices are located. Johnson's economics advisor was "Harvard economics professor "Jeffrey Miron.
Johnson participated in the first of the "Republican presidential debates, hosted by "Fox News in "South Carolina on May 5, 2011, appearing on stage with "Herman Cain, "Ron Paul, "Tim Pawlenty, and "Rick Santorum. Mitt Romney and "Michele Bachmann both declined to debate.
Johnson was excluded from the next three debates on June 13 (hosted by "CNN in "New Hampshire), August 11 (hosted by Fox News in "Iowa), and September 7 (hosted by CNN in "California). After the first exclusion, Johnson made a 43-minute video responding to each of the debate questions, which he posted on "YouTube. The first exclusion, which was widely publicized, gave Johnson "a little bump" in name recognition and an increase in small donations for a few days. Not being in the debate caused serious long-term problems for the campaign as it became difficult to raise money from donors, Johnson's name being pulled from polls and few opportunities from the media to respond to events. For the financial quarter ending June 30, Johnson raised a mere $180,000. Johnson still managed to poll higher two weeks prior to the September 7th debate than Rick Santorum or "Jon Huntsman, who were invited to that debate while Johnson was not.
Then, on September 21, Fox News decided that because Johnson polled at least 2% in five recent polls, he could participate in a September 23 debate in Florida, which it co-hosted with the Florida Republican Party (the party objected to Johnson's inclusion). Johnson participated, appearing on stage with Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, "Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, "Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. During the debate, Johnson delivered what many media outlets, including the "Los Angeles Times, and "Time, called the best line of the night: "My next-door neighbor's two dogs have created more "shovel ready jobs than this current administration." "Entertainment Weekly opined that Johnson had won the debate.
Switch to Libertarian Party
On November 29, 2011, Johnson confirmed reports that he was ending all campaign activities for the New Hampshire primary, citing his inability to gain any traction with the primary's likely voters. Stated Johnson: "It's not happening in New Hampshire. We rode bikes 500 miles across the state, we scheduled town halls – for whatever reason, nobody's really coming out to hear what it is I have to say." Johnson confirmed reports that he was considering a run on the "Libertarian Party (LP) ticket. Libertarian Party officials reported that Johnson would make an announcement on his political future on December 28, 2011; Politico reported it was expected that he would drop his bid for the Republican nomination and seek the Libertarian nomination instead.
On December 28, 2011, Johnson announced at press conference in "Santa Fe, New Mexico that he had withdrawn his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, and officially declared his candidacy for the 2012 Libertarian Party presidential nomination. During the announcement, Johnson stated, "I'm a Libertarian in belief. I successfully governed as a Libertarian in everything but the name, and I am running for president as a Libertarian." Johnson was quickly identified as the early front-runner for the party's nomination and polled more than seventy percent of votes cast in the California Libertarian Party's straw poll on March 3, 2012.
On April 30, 2012 Johnson formally endorsed retired "California Superior Court judge "Jim Gray as his choice for running mate on the LP ticket in anticipation of receiving the nomination at the "2012 Libertarian National Convention in May 2012.
Gary Johnson during presidential nomination debate at Libertarian Party convention.
On May 5, 2012, at the "Libertarian National Convention, Johnson received the Libertarian Party's official nomination for "President of the United States by a vote of 419 votes to 152 votes for second-place candidate "Lee Wrights. Following his nomination, Johnson asked the convention's delegates to nominate as his vice-presidential running-mate Judge "Jim Gray of California. Gray won the vice-presidential nomination on the first ballot.
Although there were numerous challenges to Johnson's ballot access, the Libertarian Party confirmed that Johnson received ballot access in 48 states and Washington D.C.. The Libertarian Party was able to achieve "write-in vote status in Michigan, with Oklahoma the only state to not include Johnson at all.
Johnson faced resistance from Republicans over the matter of whether or not Johnson would appear on several state ballots. In some states, such as "Pennsylvania, where Johnson had more than the officially required number of signatures necessary for the Libertarian Party candidate to appear on the ballot, the validity of the signatures was contested by Republicans. In "Iowa, a lawsuit was filed suing the "Iowa Secretary of State, "Matt Schultz, to remove Johnson from the ballot; the suit said that a reason for fighting Johnson’s appearance on the ballot was that Johnson would cause "irreparable harm to other candidates and political parties who must compete against him," and that his appearance would cause "irreparable injury to the voting public because it could improperly impact the election."
When speaking of Johnson’s chances of making the ballot in the three states that had not up to that point agreed to include Johnson, "Richard Winger, editor of "Ballot Access News, said that "Pennsylvania is likely, Michigan a maybe, Oklahoma almost impossible." On October 10, the Libertarian Party declared success in Pennsylvania.
By October Johnson was confirmed to be on the ballot in 48 states and in the District of Columbia, with only Michigan and Oklahoma still in litigation in regards to his ballot access. In the end Johnson received "write-in status in Michigan, but was completely excluded from the Oklahoma ballot.
10–13 July 2012, "JZ Analytics: Barack Obama 43.6%, Mitt Romney 38.0%, Gary Johnson 5.3%, not sure 13.1%
August 2012, "Rasmussen Reports poll includes Johnson for the first time. One in ten likely voters are familiar with him and 1 percent intends to vote for him.
September 2012, "CNN poll includes Johnson. 4% of registered voters say that they would vote for him.
November 1, 2012 "CNN poll includes Johnson. 5.1% of 796 likely voters indicated that they would vote for Gary Johnson.
On Election Day, Johnson received 1,275,951 votes nationally (0.99% of the popular vote), setting a record for the most votes won by a Libertarian Party presidential nominee.
Johnson's best showing was in his home state of New Mexico, where he received 3.55% of the popular vote.
On September 21, 2012 Johnson filed an "anti-trust lawsuit in the "US District Court for the "Central District of California against the "Commission on Presidential Debates, the "Republican National Committee and the "Democratic National Committee. The suit alleged that the three private companies have conspired in violation of the "Sherman Anti-Trust Act to limit competition and that in doing so they are injuring the Johnson campaign and the American electorate. The Commission requires that candidates must register at least 15% in 5 national polls in order to qualify for the "three televised debates. Only the Republican and Democratic parties qualified to participate.
The lawsuit sought an order of the Court enjoining the debates from proceeding unless all candidates who will appear on the ballot in enough states to win in the "Electoral College are allowed to participate. Johnson's legal adviser, Ron Nielson, said the Johnson campaign may file additional lawsuits in additional jurisdictions challenging the exclusion of Johnson from the debates on other grounds.
Relationship with Ron Paul's campaign
Initially, Johnson hoped "Ron Paul would not run for president so that Johnson could galvanize from Paul's network of libertarian-minded voters. Johnson even traveled to Houston to tell Paul of his decision to run in person. But Paul announced "his own candidacy on May 13, 2011.
Following Paul’s failure to receive the Republican nomination, Johnson actively sought, and, to at least some level, received the support of Paul's "libertarian minded supporters for his own campaign. Paul himself did not officially endorse anybody, though in an October 2012 interview Paul hinted, but did not confirm that he was planning on voting for Johnson.
Campaign financial data
The Johnson-Gray campaign raised $2,553,878 with 87% from private donations and 13% from federal funds. No money was raised from any "PACs. In comparison, "Barack Obama's campaign raised over $632,000,000 (spending almost $541,000,000)  and "Mitt Romney's campaign raised over $389,000,000 (spending over $336,000,000).
||Total Raised ($)
||Total Spent ($)
||Cash on Hand ($)
Johnson finished with over 1.2 million votes, an all-time Libertarian Party record in terms of raw total, and 0.99% of the popular vote, the party's second-best showing ever in vote percentage in a presidential election, behind that of "Ed Clark in "1980. In his home state of New Mexico, Johnson received 3.55% of the vote.
|National popular vote
List of Gary Johnson endorsements
Endorsements as a Republican candidate
Endorsements as a Libertarian candidate
- James D. Schultz, political activist and 2018 New York State Assembly candidate.
- Political consultant "Roger Stone
- Vice Admiral "Michael Colley, US Navy (Ret.)
- "Conor Friedersdorf, journalist.
- Hon. "James P. Gray, presiding judge of the Superior Court of Orange County, California (Ret.)
- Fmr. FEC Chairman "Bradley A. Smith
- Fmr. NM House Minority Leader Kip Nicely
- "Christopher R. Barron, member of the board of directors and co-founder of "GOProud
- "Big Boi, rapper, member of "Outkast
- "Adam Kokesh, talk show host and activist
- "Penn Jillette, illusionist, comedian, musician, and author
- "Jesse Ventura, former "Independence Party and "Reform Party Governor of Minnesota
- "Buddy Roemer, former Republican Governor of Louisiana
- "Alex Jones, radio host, author, conspiracy theorist and documentary filmmaker
- "Philip DeFranco, internet personality.
- "Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, political satirist, radio personality, and former MTV VJ
- "Andrew Napolitano, former "New Jersey Superior Court Judge, political and senior judicial analyst for "Fox News Channel and libertarian conservative talk show host
- "John Stossel, award-winning journalist/commentator currently working for "Fox Business Network
- Libertarian Party Members
- "Bill Redpath, Treasurer and Immediate Past Chair, Libertarian National Committee
- Guy McLendon, Member of 2006/2008/2010 LP National Platform Committees
- Jake Porter, Former Region 6 Alternate-Libertarian National Committee Member (2008–2010)
- John "J" Mills, Past Chairman of The Libertarian Party of Washington State
- Karen Green, Vice Chair, McLean County Libertarian Party
- Jason Sharp, Libertarian Candidate Indiana 7th Congressional District
- Alexander L. George, Vice-Chairman, Libertarian Party of Polk County, Florida
- Randy Eshelman, At-Large Representative to the Libertarian National Committee
- "Adrian Wyllie, Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
- Rob Power, Chairman, Current Treasurer and Former Chairman (2004–2010) of Outright Libertarians, Former LP National Platform Committee Member, Former LP of California Executive Committee Member, Former Chairman of the Libertarian Party of San Francisco
- "Scotty Boman, U.S. Senate Candidate
- State Libertarian Parties
- "Jeffrey Miron, Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Economics, "Harvard University
- Howard Baetjer, Jr., Lecturer, Department of Economics, "Towson University
- William J. Carney, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law, "Emory University
- James L. Doti, President of "Chapman University
- Lynne Kiesling, Distinguished Senior Lecturer in Economics, "Northwestern University
- Mark LeBar, Associate Professor of Philosophy, "Ohio University
- Daniel Lin, Assistant Professor of Economics, "American University
- Kate Litvak, Professor of Law, Northwestern University
- Andrew P. Morriss, D. Paul Jones, Jr. & Charlene Jones Chair in Law, "University of Alabama
- "Michael Munger, Professor of Political Science, Public Policy, and Economics, "Duke University
- David G. Post, Professor of Law, "Temple University
- Laurie A. Schmidt, Professor of Education, "Indiana Wesleyan University
- Daniel Shapiro, Professor of Philosophy, "West Virginia University
- Bradley A. Smith, Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Designated Professor of Law, "Capital University
- Ilya Somin, Associate Professor of Law, "George Mason University
- Alexander "Sasha" Volokh, Assistant Professor of Law, Emory University
- Hanah Metchis Volokh, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Emory University
- Glen Whitman, Professor of Economics, "California State University, "Northridge University
- Michael D. Freeman, PhD MPH DC MedDr, Affiliate Professor of Epidemiology and Psychiatry, "Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine
- W. William Woolsey, Associate Professor of Economics, "The Citadel
- Brandon Immel, editor of Lemon Global, Director of Ohio-based protest organization group Pro-(1)ne, and candidate for Ohio's 98th District State Representative in 2014
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You have the luxury of choices. You have the most dangerous president since Abraham Lincoln who wants to be reelected. You have a guy who, when he ran for the Senate ran to the left of Ted Kennedy; when he was governor of Massachusetts he governed like he was [inaudible]. Now that he’s running for president he claims to be a severe conservative. And you have a lover of liberty by the name of Governor Gary Johnson. You decide.
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