By Michael Sutherland | United States
Shortly after announcing his candidacy in the New Mexico Senate Race, Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico and Libertarian presidential candidate, is gaining momentum. Recent polling now shows Johnson in second place, well above his Republican opponent.
The new poll by Emerson College puts Democrat incumbent Martin Heinrich in first place, with 39% of the vote. Libertarian Gary Johnson follows with 21%, more than any Libertarian in history. Republican Mick Rich is in a distant third with only 11%. 30% of those polled are undecided.
A Libertarian candidate polling anywhere near 21% is unheard of, even in recent years. A large victory over a Republican candidate could finally put the Libertarian Party into the spotlight it needs to win.
Gary Johnson’s experience in New Mexico could give the votes needed to win the race. After two terms as governor, he is a widely popular public figure in the Land of Enchantment. If he wins, he will be the first Libertarian Senator in US history. This would be an absolute game-changer for the LP, as one prominent Libertarian victory could have a massive domino effect.
Currently, the Senate is made up of 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats. With things so close, a single Libertarian Senator could have a great deal of influence in Congress. How much influence depends on the results of the 2018 midterms, but either way, this could finally cement the Libertarian Party in mainstream US politics.
Will Gary Johnson finally do what no Libertarian has done before? Or, will Martin Heinrich keep his Senate seat and keep the two major parties’ hold on the Senate? We’ll find out in November.
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