Former NM Gov. Johnson to set up 527, raising specter of WH bid

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (R) is setting up a new political group to potentially set up a run for the White House.

The former two-term governor, known for his libertarian leanings, is setting up a new 527 group, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, over which he'll preside as an "honorary chairman."

The move raises the specter that Johnson might wage a bid for the GOP -- or Libertarian Party -- nomination for president in 2012. Candidates often set up groups, more frequently Political Action Committees (PACs) to raise money for or support other candidates.

Johnson said the group, tentatively called "Our America," will raise money and promote libertarian values, as well as "speak out on the issues of the day."

Johnson had been a supporter of Rep. Ron Paul's (R-Texas) presidential bid during the 2008 Republican primaries, and had spoken at events featuring the libertarian congressman. A Johnson candidacy might seek to capitalize on the infrastructure and fervent support Paul had built up during his own campaign.

The New Mexican reported that Johnson would neither confirm nor deny an interest in running for the presidency, though the American Conservative magazine reported last year that the former governor is keeping his options open.