Gary Johnson Picks Running Mate: Can William Weld Help Libertarians Make Their Mark In 2016?

Gary Johnson, the likely 2016 Libertarian Party nominee for President, has chosen fellow Republican governor William “Bill” Weld as his running mate in a move that may bring more visibility to the once-un-viable third-party ticket.

In any election year other than 2016, the Libertarian Party’s ticket would earn a scant couple of paragraphs in any news article about candidates and their running mates. But 2016 promises to be a different year for the Libertarians specifically, and third parties in general.

With the two major parties putting up divisive candidates who are hated by their opponents and not fully embraced even by their own bases, and with the Republican Party possibly even facing the end of its 150-year existence, more voters are looking toward the Libertarian Party than ever before.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, as recently as March 24, Johnsons was polling at 11 percent in a three-way race against Clinton and Trump, according to the Washington Times. Those double-digit polling numbers are unprecedented for a Libertarian candidate and are the only time a candidate other than a Republican or Democrat has polled in the double digits since Ross Perot in 1992.

This week, Johnson — even though he’s yet to officially be named the Libertarian Party’s nominee (that won’t be official until the party’s convention in Orlando later this month) — picked his running mate for the 2016 LP ticket: former Massachusetts Governor William “Bill” Weld, according to the Hill.

“We got together and shook hands on it. It brings an enormous amount of credibility to what it is I’m doing. I’m unbelievably flattered by this and humbled.”

Like Johnson, Weld was a Republican governor before switching parties and joining with the Libertarians. Weld governed Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997. In 1994, he won re-election by the largest margin in Massachusetts’ history, an impressive feat for a Republican in a traditionally Democratic, northeastern Blue State.

Part of what made Weld successful in Massachusetts was his moderate outlook on social issues, and fiscal conservatism combined with social liberalism is at the heart of the Libertarian platform. Specifically, according to the Boston Herald, Weld supports abortion rights, gay marriage, and medical marijuana.

More important to the Johnson campaign than Weld’s name recognition is his fundraising ability: Weld has already proven himself as a successful fundraiser for another Massachusetts Republican governor, Mitt Romney, and his skill in opening wallets couldn’t come at a better time for the cash-strapped Johnson campaign. As recently as the end of March, the Johnson campaign only had $35,000 in the bank.

“He could be a huge influence when it comes to fundraising. Huge. That was something that he in fact volunteered — that he enjoys doing it.”

In fact, for a brief period of time on Thursday, it looked as if the Johnson campaign’s fortunes were about to be reversed — and hugely so — when news broke that billionaire industrialist David Koch has donated “eight figures” to the campaign. Unfortunately for Johnson and Weld, according to the Washington Post, that story, which cited an unnamed source, was not true, and David Koch has denied donating to Johnson or any other 2016 candidate.

Still, Johnson himself admitted Thursday that his campaign may be getting an injection of some much-needed cash sooner rather than later, but he declined to give specifics.

“There are a lot of people who are expressing interest, in a big way, to be a part of this, but I’m not naming names.”

Do you believe that naming William Weld as his running mate will help Gary Johnson gain some voters — and money — this election?

[Photo by Alex Wong/Newsmakers, Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images]