Rand Paul endorses Gary Johnson's Senate bid

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

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe buck stops here: How to restore accountability to the federal regulatory system Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Lawyer: Flynn will keep cooperating after co-conspirator revelations MORE (R-Ky.) is endorsing fellow libertarian former New Mexico Gov. Gary JohnsonGary Earl JohnsonAmash won't rule out Libertarian challenge to Trump Buzz grows Amash will challenge Trump as a Libertarian Potential GOP primary challenger: Trump's 'contempt for the American people' behind possible bid 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 HeinrichHillicon Valley: Harris spikes in Google searches after debate clash with Biden | Second US city blocks facial recognition | Apple said to be moving Mac Pro production from US to China | Bipartisan Senate bill takes aim at 'deepfake' videos Senators unveil bipartisan bill to target 'deepfake' video threat Senate Democrats wish talk on reparations would go away 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.