Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson announced in New Hampshire today that he will be seeking the Republican nomination for president, making him likely the only pro-abortion candidate in the field.
Johnson’s position as a liberal Republican who supports abortion contrasts him with some of the other potential presidential candidates — like Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee or Tim Pawlenty and Haley Barbour — who take strongly pro-life views and have lengthy pro-life records as governors themselves. Other potential candidates like Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum will all be running as pro-life candidates should they officially enter the race.
When it comes to abortion, Johnson told Slate he believes that abortion should be legal “until the viability of the fetus.”
Without any appeal to social conservative voters, Johnson focused on his economic record in remarks today before an audience in the Granite State, the second in the Republican primary election process.
“I’m a fix-it man,” Johnson said. “Within two terms, I’d eliminated New Mexico’s budget deficit and cut the rate of state government growth in half while reducing the state workforce by over 10%, without laying off a single qualified state worker.”
“Saying no to waste, corruption and political games is easier than you think. During my two terms I vetoed 750 pieces of bad, unnecessary and wasteful legislation, and used the line-item veto to save millions of dollars. I was called “Governor Veto,” and accepted that nickname proudly,” Johnson added. “America needs a ‘President Veto’ right now — someone who will say ‘no’ to insane spending and stop the madness that has become Washington. That’s why I am here today to announce that I’m running for President of the United States.”
Johnson was a businessman before becoming governor of New Mexico and he favors legalizing drugs — a position that has put him in good stead with the small liberal and libertarian components of the Republican Party. In fact, some libertarians believe Johnson is the next Ron Paul — a candidate with just enough knowledge of the issues and resume as governor to make him attractive as an electable libertarian candidate.
Johnson will surely gain some support and traction as a result of his status as the only candidate, unless Paul decided to mount a second presidential bid, appealing to that section of the Republican Party. But, as was the case with Paul, Johnson will have a hard time eclipsing the 9 percent of the vote Paul received because the strong majority of GOP voters who are mainstream and social conservatives will support one of the many other candidates they find more appealing.
In fact, even at the libertarian-dominated CPAC conference, Johnson received merely 6 percent of the vote and that only came after some accusations that his people paid the way for some college students to attend and that he received the support of some of the large contingent of Ron Paul supporters who attended.