Libertarian US Senate hopeful in New Mexico to quit race

July 31, 2018 9:36 am

ALBUQUERQUE — According to reports from Associated Press and KOAT, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson said he is considering entering the U.S. Senate race now that Libertarian candidate Aubrey Dunn announced Monday he is withdrawing from the race and is requesting Johnson to replace him.

“From the polling we’ve seen and especially the buzz after the weekend, yeah I think he could win it,” Dunn said by phone on KOAT.

Dunn said Johnson outperformed him in polling research by about five times, so he contacted Johnson and asked if he’s interested.

“He’s interested in running, I think he is excited about it,” Dunn said.

But nothing is official until the Libertarian Party of New Mexico nominates a replacement.

If Johnson runs, he’ll face Democratic incumbent Martin Heinrich, who’s on a bid for his second term as U.S. Senator.

The Democratic Party of New Mexico sent a statement regarding the potential shifts in the race.

“New Mexicans need a senator who is serious about rolling up their sleeves to build an economy where people are paid a living wage, can afford health care and have the opportunity to support their family. 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,” Democratic Party of New Mexico Chair Marg Ellison said.

Republican candidate Mick Rich said he had been contacted by Johnson last week.

“I don’t care who’s in this race. I’m in it to the end, and we’re going to win it and we’re going to do what it takes to win,” Rich said.

Rich said regardless of who enters the race, he is sticking with his platform of bringing jobs to New Mexico and improving education in the state.

“We need a senator in Washington that’s going to be our advocate. For us. For all of us here. Not just for one small group or another,” Rich said.

KOAT political analyst Brian Sanderoff said the balance of power could shift if Johnson is in the picture.

“Since libertarians share some views of Democrats, some views of Republicans, you never know which of the established candidates he’s more likely to help or hurt,” Sanderoff said.

The Libertarian Party of New Mexico has yet to nominate Johnson as Dunn’s replacement. The party’s chair said they have not heard any opposition to this.

At last check, the party’s central committee is set to meet about everything this weekend.

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Note: Christine Pae, Reporter/Anchor at KOAT wrote this article, and was published by the Associated Press.