Gary Earl Johnson (born January 1, 1953) is an American businessman, author, and politician who served as the 29th governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003 as a member of the Republican Party. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 and 2016 elections. He was also the Libertarian nominee for U.S. Senate in the 2018 New Mexico senate election.Johnson founded one of New Mexico’s largest construction companies. He entered politics for the first time by running for Governor of New Mexico in 1994 on a low-tax, anti-crime platform, promising a ‘common sense business approach’. He defeated incumbent Democratic governor Bruce King by 50% to 40%. He cut the 10% annual growth in the budget, in part due to his use of the gubernatorial veto 200 times during his first six months.Johnson sought reelection in 1998, winning by 55% to 45%. In his second term, he concentrated on the issue of school voucher reforms as well as campaigning for cannabis decriminalization. During his tenure as governor, Johnson adhered to an anti-tax policy, setting state and national records for the number of times he used his veto power: more than the other 49 contemporary governors put together. Term-limited, Johnson retired from front-line politics in 2003.
Johnson ran for president in 2012, initially as a Republican on a libertarian platform emphasizing the United States public debt and a balanced budget, protection of civil liberties, military non-interventionism, replacement of income tax with the FairTax, and opposition to the War on Drugs. In December 2011, he withdrew his candidacy for the Republican nomination and stood for the Libertarian nomination instead, winning the nomination in May 2012. Johnson received 1.3 million votes (1%), more than all other minor candidates combined.Johnson ran again for President in 2016, once again winning the Libertarian nomination and naming former Republican Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld as his running mate. Johnson received nearly 4.5 million votes (3.27% of the total vote), which is the most for a third party presidential candidate since 1996 and the highest national vote share for a Libertarian candidate in history. After the 2016 presidential election, Johnson said he would not run for president again. He ran for the U.S. Senate in the 2018 New Mexico senate race against incumbent Democratic senator Martin Heinrich, coming third with 15.38% of the statewide vote (107,201 votes).