TAOS, New Mexico, September 16 – Former Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson today said that he will devote his political energies to enhancing Our America Initiative, and not running as a candidate for governor of New Mexico in 2018.
Johnson was governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, and developed a national reputation for cutting government spending and lowering taxes. He ran as a Republican outsider, and advanced causes pertaining to criminal justice, civil liberties and educational choice.
Some in political circles speculated that Johnson might again throw his hat in the race for his state’s gubernatorial contest – perhaps as a Libertarian – that is shaping up as a contest between Washington incumbents.
Our America Initiative will be the core of Johnson’s political energies
Johnson said he preferred to focus his time and efforts to the advancing the cause of liberty through Our America Initiative, a nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 2009.
The organization has been the leading advocate for inclusion of third parties in presidential debates, and last week vowed to take the fight to the Supreme Court, if necessary.
Additionally, Our America Initiative has grown to become a nation-wide organization, with volunteer staff and local projects in every state. Among the topics it is working to advance are educational choice, dealing with civil asset forfeiture and expungement of criminal records, and curbing the influence of medical and other occupational licensing boards and authorities.
Most successful third party candidate in 20 years
Together with Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, his running mate in the 2016 contest, Johnson was the most successful third-party candidate for president since Ross Perot.
Johnson won 4,489,221 votes, or 3.28 percent, of all votes cast. That is considerably more than the 2 percentage points difference between top vote-getter Hillary Clinton and electoral college winner Donald Trump.
And yet Johnson and Weld were denied the opportunity to make their case directly to voters in the debates hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Johnson was also denied a spot in the 2012 debates, and that denial has prompted a lawsuit to federal district court and to an appeals court. On August 29, 2017, the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Johnson and other third parties in Johnson v. Commission on Presidential Debates.
If a rehearing by the whole appeals court is not granted, Our America Initiative will file a petition seeking high court review.
Additionally, Our America Initiative has announced a “Liberty and Training Tour” for 2018.
In a video released about the tour, Johnson said, “The Liberty movement’s strength and potential lie in millennials and young Americans who are rejecting a broken political system. Millions are ready to join the fight for smaller government and greater freedom. They just need an invitation.”
The tour, which plans to bring nationally-known leaders and celebrities to signal events in more than 30 cities across the nation, aims to give those millennials and independent the tools they need to advocate for liberty in our political process.