Gary Johnson is the former Republican Governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003 (term limited out). As the Honorary Chairman for Our America Initiative, a 501(c)(4), Gary Johnson is not allowed to officially declare that he is running for president in 2012, but many people believe he is strongly considering it.
He has been traveling all over the country and hitting the media trail. Recent appearances include The Colbert Report, Neil Cavuto, Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano, Hannity, and Real Time with Bill Maher. He has made several trips to libertarian leaning and 2nd state on the road to the white house, New Hampshire, but this will be his first trip to Iowa. He also has a growing Internet following, including this great advertisement video from a supporter.
I know what you are thinking, a politician riding on RAGBRAI, the 472 mile bike ride across Iowa? You are probably imagining an out of shape politician being driven from stop to stop, to shake hands and to get his picture taken eating a big pork chop on a stick, but you would be getting the wrong picture. Gary Johnson is a triathlete, who has also scaled the highest peaks of 4 continents, including Everest. I picture Gary Johnson sailing through the ride with plenty of time to spare for hand shaking at each stop. Many potential presidential candidates visit Iowa from time to time, but how many of them take the time to slowly track their way across Iowa, surrounded by thousands of Iowans, participating in one of their favorite pastimes, RAGBRAI?
He may be able to run, bike, and swim his way through a triathlon, but does he have what it takes to run for president?
His positions are right in line with the growing tea party movement. His record as Governor of New Mexico speaks for itself, reducing the number of non-education state employees from 13k to 12k, cutting taxes 14 times and vetoing over 750bills, more than the other 49 Governors combined. He is also seen as a possible successor to the 74 year old Ron Paul, for the expanding liberty movement that grew out of his 2008 run for president.
He has a growing number of supporters among students, speaking on campuses all across the country and serving on the Board of Advisors for Students for Liberty, and Board of Directors for Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Barack Obama fired up the students and moved them to the polls, but since that time he has continued the wars, continued the drug war, and continued putting the bailout of corporations ahead of the American people. Could Gary Johnson, the anti-war, anti-drug war, anti-fed, anti-bailout politician do the same? With an uncontested democratic race, I could see many students and young adults crossing over during the GOP primary to vote for Johnson. I could also see Johnson stealing many votes from Obama during the general.
He is certainly a person to keep your eye on leading up to the 2012 race.