Gary Johnson Dials Back in N.H., Considers Run as Third Party Candidate

Nov 29, 2011 5:07pm

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson told ABC News that he has given up on his one-by-one vote-winning strategy in New Hampshire, essentially restructuring his entire run for the Republican presidential nomination.

Calling from New Mexico, Johnson said he would focus on national strategies like television and satellite radio appearances going forward.

Last month Johnson told ABC News’ Top Line, “I’m putting my chips on the table in New Hampshire. That’s my strategy, given my limited resources. And hey, I either get my pink slip coming out of New Hampshire, or I get an advance to go.”

In September, The Concord Monitor reported that most New Hampshire voters had never heard of Johnson, despite numerous campaign stops in the state.

Johnson said he visited the state 19 times, spending about 95 days campaigning there, a strategy that he called The New Hampshire Path. In a letter to Johnson supporters posted on the campaign’s website earlier this fall, senior adviser Ron Nielson acknowledged his candidate’s lack of recognition and finances. He wrote that New Hampshire gave Johnson the opportunity to “create momentum.”

“Being the site of the first primary of 2012, New Hampshire is the center of attention for much of the nation’s media coverage of the campaign, and as Gary gains measurable support there, it will translate into broader support throughout the country.”

The link to the New Hampshire Path letter now leads to a message reading, “page not found” over a headless photo of Johnson gripping a bicycle tire.

Today Johnson said he was frustrated and disappointed with the election process, blaming exclusion from national debates for his lack of success in the Granite State.

“When you get outfundraised by 140 to one, that’s a tough one,” Johnson said. “And that’s where we’re at. Trying to make the most out of that.”

Despite his dedication to the state, Johnson almost missed the filing deadline to appear on the ballot in New Hampshire’s Republican primary. Concord Patch reported that Johnson had to hop on a red-eye flight on Oct. 28 after he realized the date to file by proxy had passed.

Johnson said that instead of pursuing the Republican primary, he would consider running as a Libertarian candidate.  He first spoke of this possibility to the Santa Fe New Mexican last week. Few in the media actually picked up on this big moment in the Johnson campaign. In their defense, it was on Thanksgiving day.

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