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Fed Up with Romney, Many 'Ron Paul Republicans' Backing Gary Johnson Instead

Many former Paul backers attended Johnson's event at UNH on Wednesday.

Gary Johnson returned to New Hampshire this week for the first time since December of 2011, when he bowed out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

A year ago, Johnson had trouble drawing a crowd, at times speaking to almost empty rooms despite the fact that he spent as much time in New Hampshire as any other candidate. On Wednesday, about 100 people came to the University of New Hampshire's Memorial Union Building to listen to Johnson speak and answer questions for over an hour.

"I've seen a 100 percent rise in attention," Johnson said.

So what's changed? For one, Johnson is now the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee. But perhaps more important, he's now getting a lot of support from New Hampshire's large contingent of "Ron Paul Republicans," many of them too disgusted by Mitt Romney and the way he's treated Paul to vote for the Republican nominee.

Many of those Paul supporters were at UNH on Wednesday to hear Johnson speak. They see him as a far better alternative than Romney or Barack Obama.

Some of those in attendance were former Paul supporters like Libertarian gubernatorial candidate John Babiarz, state representative candidate Kevin Kervick of Portsmouth, State Rep. Seth Cohn, R-Canterbury, and even former Ron Paul staffer Brian Early of Portsmouth.

Kervick, a Republican, publicly endorsed Johnson on Wednesday, saying he thinks the country is "broken," and he doesn't see the national Republican or Democratic parties doing anything to fix it. He said he still supports Republican candidates for governor and other state offices, but can't bring himself to endorse Romney.

"The way the Republican Party treated Ron Paul supporters, particularly at the convention, was despicable," Kervick said. "That was sort of the last straw for me."

Johnson State Director Hardy Macia, who was with Ron Paul in 2008, said the influx of Ron Paul supporters has breathed life into the Johnson campaign here in New Hampshire.

"Right after the RNC, we saw a big influx of supporters," Macia said. "They've been phone banking, doing sign waves – we have a lot more interest now."

UNH student Kurt Isaak of Londonderry said he was very disappointed with the way Paul supporters were treated by the RNC.

"I found out about Gary Johnson, and he pretty much matched everything I cared about," he said.

Cohn points out that Paul got more than 20 percent of the vote in this year's New Hampshire primary, and if most of them vote for Johnson, "that's a huge number for Gary."

Johnson embraced the many Ron Paul supporters in the room on Wednesday, even going so far as to declare that he's a Ron Paul supporter himself.

"You have two people saying the same thing," he said. "I feel good about the Ron Paul support."

Now Johnson, who is polling at about 5 percent nationally, just has to get the rest of the world to notice him. He said that's his goal over the next several weeks, pushing to be included in the presidential debates so that he can help spread the word about his campaign.

"It's really important that I be in the national debates. It is the way I can win this election," Johnson said. "People are desirous of voting for somebody as opposed to the lesser of two evils."

Adriane Evans Adams September 22, 2012 at 11:22 PM
I agree. Virgil Goode is a better choice.
Adriane Evans Adams September 22, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Why not vote for Virgil Goode? He seems to be closer to Ron Paul on the issues I find more important. There are several things i can't agree with Johnson on, but particularly on the elective abortion issue.
Jay September 25, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Like many politicians, Gary is pro-choice but is a states' rights advocate on the issue. That seems fair and Constitutional in my mind. As far as immigration goes, he's in favor of a very strict, one strike and you're out work visa program. Combine that with his stance on drug legalization and I believe you have the most cost effective, realistic approach to defending our borders. I respect your pro life stance however... if it's a deal breaker then at least you have another Liberty candidate choice in Virgil Goode.
Prolife for Johnson September 27, 2012 at 03:42 AM
I think you should reconsider. While it's true that Gary Johnson is pro-choice, as a Libertarian, his personal views on the abortion issue - however misguided they may be - are not as big a deal as they would be otherwise. In my opinion, the important factor to consider when evaluating Gary Johnson as President - a federal office - is that Gary Johnson would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned. He believes Roe is a huge overstep by the federal government. Gary Johnson may have the wrong idea about abortion, but he doesn't want to impose his personal views on you, or on the country. In a worst case scenario, he wants to leave the issue up to residents of the various states to decide. This is a step in the right direction. Ideally, we'll eventually recognize the unborn as human beings who are deserving of the same protection afforded to all human beings... and I believe that Gary will get there someday as a matter of personal conviction... but for now, baby steps.. and in my opinion, there is no reason a pro-life person can't in good conscience vote for Gary Johnson.
Mike Goulet October 12, 2012 at 07:26 PM
To my way of thinking, there is no choice but Gary Johnson. The antiquated 2 party system not only has big business to placate but influences the media to their way of thinking to the point that we don't know what the truth is anymore. This country needs a breath of fresh air and a new direction. I would only wish that those who are sick and tired of the two party crap, the endless wars, the devaluing of our dollar, our homes, and our retirement accounts, band together and vote for Gary Johnson. While Virgil Goode is a good candidate as well, voting for him or Jill Stein or writing in Ron Paul will only dilute the vote. Right now, the most qualified independent on the ballot is Gary. Choose wisely!

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