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Former N.M. gov may run as Libertarian

Dec. 15, 2011 at 1:34 PM

MIAMI, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor waging a quixotic Republican presidential campaign, now says he may run as the Libertarian candidate.

Johnson is in favor of lower taxes, hoping to replace the income tax with a national sales tax, small government and gun rights. But he is also pro-choice on abortion and favors the legalization of marijuana, views that put him at odds with social conservatives.

"The party left me," Johnson told The Miami Herald. "The Republican Party hung me out to dry."

Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative who is advising Johnson, said the candidate was "happy" with a meeting this week with Libertarians in Florida.

Johnson, a self-made businessman who won two terms as governor in New Mexico, has been excluded from most debates and polls. His candidacy has also been hurt by that of the better-known U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who is also a libertarian Republican.

While Johnson blames the TV networks and Republican leaders for keeping him out of the public eye, he recognizes a structural problem in his party as well.

"The majority of Republicans are not social conservatives," he said. "But the majority -- the overwhelming majority -- of Republican activists are social conservatives."

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