Rand Paul endorses Gary Johnson's Senate bid

Rand Paul endorses Gary Johnson's Senate bid
© Greg Nash

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP braces for Trump's emergency declaration Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown Senate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general MORE (R-Ky.) is endorsing fellow libertarian former New Mexico Gov. Gary JohnsonGary Earl JohnsonGOP strategist says Virginia 'just got purple' Ex-Massachusetts gov rejoins GOP as he weighs Trump primary challenge Schultz presidential rollout ignites fury on left MORE in his Senate bid in the state.

Paul is throwing his weight behind Johnson, instead of his Republican competitor Mick Rich, the Kentucky senator announced in a news release Tuesday, The Associated Press reports.

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Johnson’s supporters have been pressuring Rich to drop out of the race against Democratic Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichOvernight Defense: Dems aim to block use of defense funds for wall | Watchdog issues new warning on Syria withdrawal | Trump wants to 'watch Iran' from Iraq Senate Dems introduce bill to block Trump from using military funds to build wall Puerto Rico statehood supporters pin hopes on House action MORE. Tuesday is the final day for candidates to withdraw their names from the general election ballot.

As fellow libertarians, Paul and Johnson share similar sentiments on limited government.

An Emerson College e-poll conducted with a small sample size of 500 registered voters showed Johnson leading Rich among Republicans.

Johnson led a failed campaign for president in the 2016 election, earning him big name recognition, and previously served as New Mexico’s governor in the late '90s and early 2000s.

Marg Elliston, the chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party, said in a statement Tuesday that Paul's endorsement of Johnson was unsurprising. 

“Rand Paul is the least surprising DC endorsement Gary Johnson could get," she said. "Both put on a big show about their so-called independence, but at the end of the day, both are rubber stamps for the extreme agenda of today’s Republican Party. We know both would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and both want to gut the types of programs that help New Mexico families thrive.”

--Updated at 7:23 p.m.