Gary Johnson, the long-shot alternative to Ron Paul for the libertarian vote in the Republican primaries, has staked his campaign almost entirely on New Hampshire. But if he doesn't hurry up, his name might not even be on the ballot there.
Getting on the New Hampshire ballot is very simple: all you need is a one-page declaration of candidacy and a $1,000 filing fee. There are no minimum poll numbers to qualify, as there are for televised debates. You just need to get your materials in within the designated two-week filing period, which ends today, Friday, Oct. 28 -- and as of Thursday evening, Johnson had not.
For the first 13 days of the filing period, candidates can submit their declaration of candidacy and filing fee by mail or by proxy. But those who wait until the last day don't have that option; they have to deliver them in person.
Booked Last-Minute Flight to File New Hampshire Paperwork
And so Johnson, who was supposed to spend Thursday, Friday and Saturday campaigning in Arizona, booked a last-minute flight to New Hampshire to file the all-important paperwork that somehow slipped through the cracks.
At this time, Gary is still trying to work to figure out with the secretary of state's office what went wrong, Andrea Garcia, a campaign spokeswoman, told New Hampshire TV station WMUR. Gary does plan to be on the New Hampshire primary ballot.
Johnson's campaign has been very open about its one-state strategy. The former New Mexico governor's Web site has a whole section outlining his New Hampshire Plan to win between 5 and 10 percent of the vote in the nation's first primary. The motto on top of his homepage is Live Free, in line with his libertarian views as well as with New Hampshire's state motto, Live Free or Die.
The idea is that, because New Hampshire is small, it is conducive to grassroots campaigning on a relatively low budget, even without the benefit of name recognition or media attention.
But, with less than 11 weeks to go before the primary, which New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner is expected to schedule for Jan. 10, Johnson's poll numbers remain extremely low. A recent NBC News-Marist poll showed him with just 1 percent support, tied for last place with former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and he was not included in a recent CNN-Time-ORC poll.