The delegates to the Libertarian Nominating Convention in Orlando, Florida, have officially nominated former Governor Gary Johnson (R-NM) as the Libertarian Party candidate for President of the United States. He will stand in the November general election against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump (R) and the yet un-selected Democratic nominee.
The Libertarian Party is the largest ‘third party’ in the United States, and will likely be the only party other than the Democrats and Republicans to appear on all fifty states’ ballots.
Johnson started a small construction company, Big J Enterprises, in 1976, less than a year after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico. He grew the company into a multi-million dollar corporation with over a thousand employees, and when he sold the business in 1999 it was one of the largest construction firms in New Mexico.
With the slogan, “People before politics,” Johnson ran a partially self-funded campaign to narrowly win the Republican nomination in the 1994 New Mexico governor’s race. He then defeated incumbent Governor Bruce King (D-NM) in the general election by a ten point margin. He won reelection in 1998 by a similar margin.
Johnson vetoed nearly half of the bills that came across his desk, and quickly became known as a leading ‘small-l’ libertarian. Since leaving office in 2002, Johnson formally left the Republican Party and became a member of the Libertarian Party. He stood as the Libertarian presidential nominee in 2012, earning about 1% of the popular vote. This was slightly less than Ed Clark’s (L) 1.1% showing in 1980, but represented the highest raw vote total in Libertarian Party history—over 1.27 million votes cast.
Johnson will be joined on the Libertarian ticket by his vice presidential running mate, former Governor William Weld (R-MA). Weld is another former Republican who was elected—and then reelected—in a state that normally leans strongly Democratic.
The Libertarian Party is the first of the three ‘fifty-state’ parties to officially select its presidential and vice presidential nominees. The Republican Party will select its nominees at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 18. The Democratic Party will select its nominees at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 25. The Green Party, which is the largest of the ‘non-fifty-state’ parties, expects to be on the ballot in at least twenty states and will select its nominees at the Green Party Presidential Nominating Convention in Houston, Texas, on August 6.