Gary Johnson Mounting Third-Party Bid for New Mexico Senate Seat

Former GOP governor took 9 percent in state as 2016 Libertarian presidential nominee

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate, will run for Senate in New Mexico this November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary Johnson has qualified to run for Senate in New Mexico, according to the secretary of state’s candidate list.

Johnson, who served two terms as New Mexico governor as a Republican, will make a formal announcement on his bid soon, his campaign manager told The Associated Press.

In the 2016 presidential election, he garnered 3 percent of the national popular vote but 9.3 percent in his home state.

Democrat Hillary Clinton won New Mexico with 48 percent of the vote, finishing 8 points ahead of President Donald Trump.

Rumors circulated in July that Johnson might run on the Libertarian line after that party’s nominee, New Mexico Public Lands Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, said he would drop out of the race.

Johnson’s entry adds an unexpected dimension to Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich’s bid for a second term.

Heinrich won his first term in 2012 by 6 points over former GOP Rep. Heather A. Wilson, who is now the Air Force secretary.

The GOP nominee this November is Albuquerque construction contractor and political outsider Mick Rich.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Democratic.

Watch: No More Blue Wave Metaphors, 2018 Is About Too Many GOP Fires

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