Libertarian presidential pick could win votes in Maine

September 29th, 2012 by admin Leave a reply »

If you’re like most Maine voters, you’ve probably never heard of Gary Johnson.

If you have, you’re likely a die-hard Libertarian, a political reporter and/or under the age of 40.

But the former two-term governor of New Mexico and Libertarian Party candidate for president may play a bigger role in Maine’s 2012 election cycle than many could have guessed when Johnson entered the race as a Republican in April 2011.

Johnson provides a segment of Maine’s young Republicans with an option to Mitt Romney after their efforts to boost the presidential campaign of Texas Rep. Ron Paul were thwarted by several controversial decisions, first by the Maine GOP and then by the Republican National Committee.

Johnson also holds appeal for a sizable segment of Maine voters who are more left-leaning than the Democratic candidate on the ballot. His support of medical marijuana, his message on peace and his support of ending U.S. military involvement abroad resonates with many.

While it’s not the first time Maine has had a Libertarian Party candidate on the ballot, it may be the first time that candidate draws enough votes to officially establish the party in Maine. Typically, a Libertarian Party candidate for president will pick up between 0.25 and 0.5 percent of the vote.

“Gary Johnson will significantly outpace that,” Jim Melcher, a political science professor at the University of Maine at Farmington predicted in an email message Friday. Melcher wrote that one recent poll that suggested Johnson

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