SANTA FE, NM (Reuters) - Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson said on Wednesday he is dropping out of the Republican presidential race and is seeking the Libertarian Party nomination for president.
“We are getting fed up with the two-party system,” Johnson said at a news conference at the state capitol in Santa Fe, where he was joined by some 50 supporters and by Libertarian Party chairman Mark Hinkle.
Democrats, Johnson said, have backed off on social issues such as gay rights and Republicans “are no longer stewards of the pocketbook.”
Johnson said that he’d been “snubbed by the Republican Party” and ignored by the national media.
As a long-shot candidate for president, Johnson had proposed cutting government spending, reducing taxes and legalizing marijuana.
As governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, Johnson vetoed so many bills — some 750 — that he was later nicknamed “Governor Veto.”
Hinkle did not endorse Johnson, but the Libertarian Party released a statement welcoming Johnson to the party and commending him for “stopping the expansion of Big Government” when he was governor.
Johnson, a mountain climber, skier and bicyclist, lives in Taos.
He said he hopes that by running as a Libertarian he will get more press coverage and “catch a little fire.”
Reporting by Dennis Carroll; Writing by Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Jerry Norton