Libertarian Gary Johnson launches White House bid
© Greg Nash

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary JohnsonGary Earl JohnsonNew Mexico lawmakers send recreational marijuana bills to governor Judge throws out murder convictions, releases men jailed for 24 years On The Trail: Making sense of Super Poll Sunday MORE launched his bid for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination on Wednesday.

“I want to take this opportunity to announce my candidacy for president,” Johnson said on Fox Business Network’s "Cavuto." “I am hoping to get the Libertarian nomination for president in 2016.”

Johnson, who was the Libertarian Party’s standard-bearer in 2012, said he’d by vying with about 25 others for the party’s nomination this time around.


He described himself as a “classic liberal,” a term embraced by many conservatives who identify as Libertarians, and said his top priority will be reducing the nation’s debt.

Johnson served two terms as the Republican governor of New Mexico beginning in 1995. He participated in one GOP presidential debate early in the 2012 cycle before running as a Libertarian and winning about 1.3 million votes in the general election.

He had been serving as president of Cannabis Sativa, Inc., a marijuana marketing company that says it aims to assist in taking pot into the mainstream. Johnson quit that job last week in anticipation of his presidential run.

In a November interview with Reason, Johnson said he’s suing the Presidential Debates Commission, accusing them of colluding with the two major parties to keep alternatives off the debate stage.

He said it’s not too late for him to get into the race, pointing to chaos wrought by the huge field of contenders on the GOP side.

“There's no advantage to making it official given what I'll call the clown-car,” Johnson said. “Given the attention that's being given to the Republican side. Let that stuff sort it self out and there's plenty of time for the general election.”

Still, Johnson sought to tamp down expectations for his candidacy.

“I thought we'd have done a lot better last election cycle, so I'm not under any delusions,” he said.