The man known as "Governor Veto" will take his case for smaller, less intrusive, constitutional government to the voters as the U.S. Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States. At their Las Vegas convention, the Libertarians chose former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson on Saturday as the party's standard-bearer. Johnson earned his nickname during his eight years (1995-2003) at the Santa Fe State House, where he vetoed more than 750 bills passed by the Legislature. Johnson himself brought up the "Governor Veto" label at the convention, pointing to it as evidence of his strength of character.
The former chief executive won 70 percent of the votes cast by the 632 delegates, handily defeating runner up Lee Wrights, an Air Force veteran with no previous political experience. The two men were the finalists from among a field of candidates that numbered six when the convention opened on Thursday.
Johnson announced he would seek the Libertarian Party nod months ago, after dropping out of a crowded field of candidates for the Republican nomination. He was unable to gain much traction as a GOP candidate and despite his status as a former two-term governor, his low ranking in the polls kept him out of all but one of the televised debates. His most memorable moment in that campaign came during his one debate appearance, when he convulsed both the audience and his fellow candidates with laughter by claiming his neighbor's dog had created "more shovel-ready jobs" than President Obama had.
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Photo: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks to a crowd of Tea Party supporters at the Hyatt Regency, May 5, 2011 in Greenville, S.C.: AP Images