I recently got to speak with former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson at the Free State Project’s Porcupine Freedom Festival in Lancaster, New Hampshire. I blogged reflections on the festival elsewhere, but wanted to focus here on consideration of a possible Johnson run in 2012. Here’s a relevant excerpt from the other post:
Thereâ€™s a good bit of speculation around Gary Johnson as the possible â€œRon Paul of 2012.â€ A libertarian-leaning Republican, Johnson vetoed 750 bills as governor (not counting line-item vetoes), never raised taxes, favors withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan, and advocates the legalization of marijuana.
I also spoke with a reporter from The New Republic, who asked me mostly about Johnsonâ€™s fanbase in the and chances in New Hampshire should he decide to run in 2012. If Johnson were to run, I think he would enjoy near-unanimous support among Free Staters who engage the political process, just as Paul did. Now, Paul has been around a lot longer, and itâ€™s difficult to imagine that Johnson would enjoy quite the sheer enthusiasm and cult following that Paul did â€“ but with Ron Paulâ€™s blessing and full-throated support, he should be able to do just as well in raising money. If, as I suspect, he also does better among mainstream Republicans, he could do pretty well in terms of vote share. He has two terms of executive experience, unlike Paul and many other potential candidates for the nomination, and the party should be in a relatively libertarian mood by then. Tea Party types are politically homeless right now; while they tend to support either Sarah Palin or Ron Paul, thereâ€™s also a consensus among conservatives that neither of these would be an effective candidate in the general election.
So in short – what are the chances that Tea Partiers line up behind Johnson if he runs? They’re short of alternatives!