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Gary Johnson announces Libertarian presidential run

Former Gov. Gary Johnson just made it official: He’s running for president again as a Libertarian candidate.

Johnson made the announcement during an appearance Wednesday on Neil Cavuto’s “Coast to Coast” on the Fox Business Network moments ago. Johnson, who served two terms as a Republican governor of New Mexico from 1994 to 2003, also ran for president in 2012, finishing a distant third with 1,275,971 votes, or about 1 percent of the vote. However, he did receive more votes than any Libertarian candidate in history.

“One need only to look at the Republican and Democrat nomination races to see that 2016 may very well be a ‘tipping point’ election year,” Johnson said in a statement announcing his candidacy. “The American people are clearly fed up and running out of patience with the status quo. I’m fed up with it also.”

A longtime fiscal hawk who vetoed more legislation than any other governor in New Mexico history, Johnson blasted President Barack Obama’s fiscal stewardship of the country – but said profligate spending isn’t only a Democratic problem.

“By the time Barack Obama leaves office, the national debt will have reached $20 trillion. It has doubled while he has been in office, just as it doubled while George W. Bush was President. Obviously, it doesn’t really matter which of the two so-called ‘major’ parties is in control of the White House or Congress. The government just keeps growing, the spending just keeps increasing, and the debt keeps piling up.”

Johnson, a former construction company owner and self-made millionaire who now lives in Taos, is also a longtime opponent of interventionist foreign policy, which he also criticized in his announcement.

“After two wars, seemingly endless foreign interventions and failed attempts at nation-building, can anyone credibly suggest that we are somehow safer today than we were 15 years ago?,”Johnson asked. “To the contrary, the threats to our safety and our liberty from violent jihadists are increasing, and if anything, we are less safe. The American people are tired of chaotic foreign and military policies that are obviously not fulfilling the government’s fundamental duty to keep the homeland and our freedoms secure. Voters are correctly demanding that their leaders focus on that most basic responsibility of the federal government.”

Obviously, Johnson’s presidential campaign is a longshot at best. In 2012, he initially ran as a Republican and switched to the Libertarian Party in part because he could not gain access to most of the GOP debates. It will be interesting to see if he gains any more traction as a Libertarian this time around, especially as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have already appeared to soak up a lot of the outlying support on the right and left, respectively.