LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is campaigning to win the White House as a Libertarian after receiving scant attention in the Republican presidential race.
Johnson easily became the party's presidential nominee at the Libertarian national convention in Las Vegas on Saturday. He said he hopes to appeal to voters fed up with the traditional two-party system in November.
Johnson was a longshot candidate for the Republican presidential nomination when he announced in December that he would instead pursue the Libertarian ticket.
He won 70 percent of the vote on the first ballot in Las Vegas, an unusual showing of support. His closest challenger, R. Lee Wrights of Texas, finished with 25% of the ballots. In 2008, Libertarian delegates needed six rounds of voting to pick a presidential nominee.
"I am honored and I just want to pledge that no one will be disappointed. We're going to grow the Libertarian Party," Johnson said after the vote.
There were no complaints of carpetbagging among the delegates despite Johnson's sudden embrace of the Libertarian movement after his Republican loss. Some noted that his gubernatorial experience could lend the party more credibility among Republican and Democratic voters.
"I am convinced that Gary Johnson will be an exceptional candidate," said chairman Mark Hinkle. "Libertarians will show voters how we can make government small while dramatically increasing jobs, lowering taxes and scaling back government debt."