Gary Johnson, a former New Mexico governor, has won the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination at the party convention in Orlando, Florida. Former Massachusetts governor, William Weld, got the third party’s vice president nomination.
Johnson secured his nomination after receiving 55.8 percent of the vote. He was followed by Austin Peterson of Missouri, with 23 percent and John McAfee, developer of early commercial anti-virus software with 14 percent.
“I’ve always said, it’s your hard work … your work has gotten us to this point,” Johnson said in his acceptance speech. “I will work as hard as I can to represent all you in this room.”
The convention also selected former Massachusetts GOP Governor William Weld as the party’s vice president, after he secured 50.6 percent in the second round of vote over Larry Sharpe, a businessman who runs a company called “Neo-Sage” that offers executive coaching and management consulting.
“I think every day I become better a Libertarian,” he said Sunday. “I remain open to suggestions.”
— Libertarian Party (@LPNational) May 29, 2016
The Libertarian Party is generally described as socially liberal and fiscally conservative. In its official platform, the party touts the three tenets of “personal liberty,” “economic liberty,” and “securing liberty,” while stressing the importance of “minimum government.”
According to the latest Washington Post and ABC polls, up to 51 percent of Americans want a third-party candidate to run in 2016 election, and Johnson wants to capitalize on this sentiment.
“Fifty percent of Americans right now are registering themselves as independent, meaning new voters are registering themselves as independents. Where’s that representation? Well, I happen to think it’s libertarian,” Johnson told reporters. “I happen to think that most people in this country are libertarian, they just don’t know it. Here’s the great opportunity leaving here today.”
Party leaders say the Libertarians are poised for a breakout year, as they seek to garner disaffected Republicans and right-wing independents who want to avoid supporting the GOP nominee Donald Trump, while possibly siphoning off potential Democratic and left-independent voters who currently back Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders but would not ultimately rally behind Hillary Clinton, if she wins the Democratic nomination.
In a recent Fox News poll, Johnson garnered 10 percent of support in a three-way race against Trump and Clinton, who is currently the frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s nomination. Trump polled at 42 percent, while Clinton was at 39 percent.
* * *