Pubdate: Wed, 28 Dec 2011
Source: Santa Maria Times (CA)
Copyright: 2011 Lee Central Coast Newspapers
Note: from the Associated Press


Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a longshot candidate for the
Republican presidential nomination, said Wednesday he is leaving the
GOP in favor of running as a Libertarian.

Johnson told a news conference at the state Capitol that the decision
was difficult, but that he was "deeply disappointed" by the treatment
he received in the Republican nomination process.

"I had hoped to lay out a real libertarian message on all the issues
in the Republican contest. The process was not fair and open," he said.

Johnson has been excluded from all but two GOP presidential debates.
He also has barely registered in the polls.

The former two-term governor said that if he earns the Libertarian
Party's presidential nomination, he will appear on the ballots in all
50 states and will not be "held hostage to a system rigged for the
wealthiest and best-known candidates in a handful of states who happen
to have early primaries."

Johnson is fiscally conservative but supports legalizing marijuana and
abortion rights.

He laid out an agenda that also includes ending deficit spending and
cutting federal spending by 43 percent. He called for ending gun
control, ending expensive foreign wars, cutting over-regulation and
legalizing gay marriage.

"I believe this election needs a true libertarian voice," he said.
"While Ron Paul is a good man and a libertarian who I proudly endorsed
for president in 2008, there is no guarantee that he will be the
Republican nominee." 
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D