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UPDATED: Gary Johnson Says He’s Leaving GOP for Libertarians

SANTA FE — Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a longshot candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, said Wednesday he is leaving the GOP in favor of running as a Libertarian.

Johnson told a news conference at the state Capitol that the decision was difficult, but that he was “deeply disappointed” by the treatment he received in the Republican nomination process.

“I had hoped to lay out a real libertarian message on all the issues in the Republican contest. The process was not fair and open,” he said.

Johnson has been excluded from all but two GOP presidential debates. He also has barely registered in the polls.

The former two-term governor said that if he earns the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, he will appear on the ballots in all 50 states and will not be “held hostage to a system rigged for the wealthiest and best-known candidates in a handful of states who happen to have early primaries.”

Johnson is fiscally conservative but supports legalizing marijuana and abortion rights.

He laid out an agenda that also includes ending deficit spending and cutting federal spending by 43 percent. He called for ending gun control, ending expensive foreign wars, cutting over-regulation and legalizing gay marriage.

“I believe this election needs a true libertarian voice,” he said. “While Ron Paul is a good man and a libertarian who I proudly endorsed for president in 2008, there is no guarantee that he will be the Republican nominee.”

See video from Wednesday’s press conference here.

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Dec. 28, 2011 11:25 a.m.

By The Associated Press

SANTA FE — Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a longshot candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, said Wednesday he is leaving the GOP in favor of running as a Libertarian.

Johnson told a news conference at the state Capitol that the decision was difficult but that he “was deeply disappointed by the treatment I received in the Republican nomination process.”

Johnson has been excluded from all but two GOP presidential debates. He also has barely registered in the polls.

The former two-term governor said that if he earns the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, he will appear on the ballots in all 50 states and will not be “held hostage to a system rigged for the wealthiest and best-known candidates in a handful of states who happen to have early primaries.”

Johnson is fiscally conservative but supports such liberal causes as legalizing marijuana and abortion rights.

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Dec. 28, 2011 10 a.m. — Gary Johnson News Conference Live-Streamed

You can watch former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson’s news conference as it is being live-streamed from Santa Fe from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Mountain Time.

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5:08am 12/28/11 — Ex. Gov. Johnson To Switch Parties Today

SANTA FE (AP) — Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has scheduled a news conference in Santa Fe today to officially announce plans to drop his Republican presidential campaign in favor of a Libertarian run.

His spokesman confirmed last week that Johnson would switch parties this week.

Joe Hunter says Johnson — who has gotten little attention with his GOP bid — represents a viewpoint that needs to be heard, and he will do whatever it takes to get that done.

Johnson is fiscally conservative but supports such liberal causes as legalizing marijuana and abortion rights.

Johnson has been excluded from all but two GOP presidential debates and has barely registered in polls.

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