It is easy to forget about Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential nominee. After all, Johnson isn’t raking in big bucks like President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney.
Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico, isn’t often landing on the front pages of the biggest print media in the nation, or anywhere else for that matter, and he isn’t being covered much in the top slots on television.
But despite how minuscule his chances of being president, Johnson, 59, has amassed a following that a poll shows may possibly tip the balance in what could be a close election.
Johnson thinks Republicans are running scared and trying to keep him off the ballots, because he could take away some of Romney’s votes.
Johnson is on the presidential ballot in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia. He also recently secured his best fundraising month in August, bringing in more than $356,000, Politico reported, adding that Johnson hopes to secure at seat at the presidential debates in October and also get help from super PACs.
Johnson told Politico it would take approximately $50 million in campaign and super PAC money to win him the presidency. That’s less than the average monthly haul in donations by the two major campaigns over the summer.
“These challenges against me are just railroad jobs: it’s straight out of the Wild West,” Johnson told the UK’s Guardian, speaking about Republican attempts to block him. “I think it’s a testament to the strength of our campaign that they are going to these lengths. The Republicans are afraid of me taking away votes from Romney: that’s the bottom line.”
Call Johnson paranoid if you want, but he could be on to something.
Last week, a CNN/ORC poll found that 3 percent of likely voters would choose Johnson as their man for president in November. Among registered voters, the poll shows that number increasing by one percentage point.
And when Green Party candidate Jill Stein is brought into the mix, the CNN poll found that Romney’s support base is hurt more than Obama’s.
Keating Holland, CNN’s polling director, said “the inclusion of the two minor-party candidates turns a six-point margin for President Obama into an eight-point lead.”
Ron Paul, the standard-bearer for Libertarian values in the Republican party, has not endorsed Romney or Johnson, but the Libertarian nominee told the Guardian his campaign is gaining the support of Paul’s followers.
Coupled with favoring tax reduction and a balanced budget, Johnson supports same-sex marriage and also differs from the Republican platform on other, contentious social issues.