SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Former New Mexico governor and unsuccessful presidential candidate Gary Johnson received a formal invitation Saturday to run for the U.S. Senate under the Libertarian Party banner.
The central committee of New Mexico’s Libertarian Party offered Johnson the party’s nomination as a replacement to State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, who abandoned his Senate bid earlier in the week.
Johnson has two weeks to decide whether to accept. He said in a statement Saturday that he was giving serious consideration to the offer.
“A major factor is, simply, whether I can win,” he said. “If I run, it will be with the intention to win, and give our state a strong, independent voice in Washington.”
Johnson would compete against incumbent Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich and Republican Mick Rich, a construction contractor and newcomer to politics.
In 2016, Johnson won 9 percent of the vote in New Mexico as the Libertarian presidential candidate, while Hillary Clinton carried the state.
Johnson was twice elected governor as a Republican in 1994 and 1998. He hued to a small-government philosophy and advocated for legalized marijuana when it still was taboo in mainstream politics.
Rich said Friday that his “commitment is stronger than ever” to his campaign.
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