Former governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson says he is contemplating running for the US Senate for the state, after it was announced that the Libertarian Party’s main candidate was pulling out of the race.
“If the opportunity arises to run for the Senate, I will give it serious consideration,” Johnson told the Albuquerque Journal in a statement. “To be clear though, I will not run unless I believe I can win.”
The former Republican governor, who ran as a Libertarian for president in 2012 and 2016, made the announcement after the main Libertarian candidate –New Mexico’s Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn– pulled out of the race.
Dunn’s son Blair told the Associated Press that his father is relinquishing his candidacy for the Senate and would soon release more details. The news of Dunn’s decision was also confirmed by Libertarian Party of New Mexico Chair Chris Luchini, who declined to say if Johnson would be a candidate.
Unless Johnson fills the Libertarian seat, New Mexico’s election will be contested between the incumbent Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich and Republican choice Mick Rich who’s making his first run for an elected office, with chances high that Heinrich would keep his seat.
65-year-old Johnson, who secured 9.3 percent of votes in New Mexico in the 2016 presidential race and served as the governor between 1995 and 2002, may have a good chance of standing up to the contestants from the two main parties in the upcoming midterm election. But the Democratic Party of New Mexico has already dismissed Johnson’s chances.
“While Gary Johnson has been off pursuing the national spotlight and his personal ambitions, Martin Heinrich has been on the front lines fighting for New Mexicans,” Marg Elliston, chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, told AP.
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