Libertarian Gary Johnson polling at 10 percent in Utah, nationally
Salt Lake City —
(KUTV) The "Never Trump" movement is alive and well in Utah where third party candidate Gary Johnson is polling at 10 percent. His campaign is based in Utah, a decidedly red state, where Hillary Clinton is nipping at Donald Trump's heels in a new Utah Policy poll, with Gary Johnson taking away one in ten voters.
Libertarian Johnson is running his campaign out of Salt Lake because his campaign manager, from his days as governor in New Mexico, works in Utah. Johnson hopes he can make a dent in the national electorate, like he's already done here in Utah.
Johnson, 63, has two children in their 30s, a girlfriend of nine years and is making his second run for the White House. He ran for president four years ago as a Libertarian pulling in less than one percent of the vote nationally, but already this time around he's polling close to 10 percent nationally.
In a new CNN/ORC poll, Clinton tops Trump 42 to 38, with Gary Johnson at nine percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein polling at seven percent.
The same poll found that 22 percent of registered voters have not yet to made a decision of who they'll vote for and third party candidates are still on the table. That's good news for Johnson, who in any other election year, would have no chance at the presidency.
Johnson who stopped by KUTV Tuesday morning said the poll numbers "can't be ignored, that is one in 10 people." He notes he'd likely be doing better if he was included in polls more often, but said voters are rarely given a chance to voice their support for him.
"You can't win the race if you were not in the presidential debates and hopefully," he said, "I will be in the presidential debates." Johnson will need to poll at 15 percent by August to arrive on the national debate stage, and it appears he's within striking distance.
"It is all about smaller government." for Johnson, a one-time Republican governor of New Mexico. "Myself and Bill Weld delivered in a big way when it comes to smaller government."
Johnson and his running mate, William Weld, have both served two successful terms as governor of New Mexico and Massachusetts respectively. Both states lean heavily to the left, and yet, both were elected twice.
Johnson, a fiscal conservative, has a record that shows a cut in state spending as a Republican governor and a penchant for less government. He holds a national record for number of vetoes in his first six months in office. He killed about half of the more than 400 bills passed by his legislature.
"I support the second amendment. I support people and their right to own weapons." He does however leave the door open to "discussion of how we keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill."
While Johnson may sound like a Republican, his social stances would tell you otherwise.
"I do believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in marriage equality. I believe marijuana should be legal.
"If your use of marijuana -- and it does not adversely affect someone -- else why should you not be able to knock yourself out if that's what you choose?"
He thinks "legalizing marijuana recreationally leads to less substance abuse because it is so much safer than everything else out there, starting with alcohol."
He argues passing legislation for medical purposes is a start.
"Marijuana products don't kill anybody, while legal prescription drugs kill 100,000 people a year and arguably both are just as effective."
As far as international politics go, he doesn't think the U.S. should be involved in other countries' civil wars.
"Let's make the world more safe by not getting involved interventionally in other countries' affairs. Look. I reject that Libertarians are isolationist, we are not isolationist. It is diplomacy to the hilt. Free-trade, but let's not get involved in other countries affairs."
Johnson officially received his party's nomination three weeks ago in Florida. He needs some serious fundraising help to make it, but said he can make history.
"This is a campaign unlike any other cycle."
Johnson said he will use the same attitude in the race for the White House, that he used to ascend the world's seven summits.
"Not one mountain did I conquer, it was a whole lot of good grace, one foot in front of the other, and a whole lot of adversity."
He said he'll take it one step at a time and "get up tomorrow with a smile on my face."
In case you are wondering, you may have seen Johnson out and about in Utah. Not only is he basing his campaign in the state, but Johnson spends a lot of time here. He hang-glides in Draper at the point of the mountain, skis and mountain bikes. You can check out some of his outdoor adventures on his campaign page GaryJohnson2016.com.