Johnson run could push NM Libertarian Party into major party status

lpnmFrom the New Mexico Political Report on October 26:

“New Mexico could see a Libertarian primary election on the same day as the Democratic and Republican primaries in 2018.

“That will depend on the outcome of this year’s presidential election and if the state’s Libertarian Party can boost its membership numbers.

“Currently the Libertarian Party is considered a minor party in New Mexico, along with the Green and Constitutional parties. But if at least 5 percent of voters in New Mexico vote for the party’s presidential nominee, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party will be on its way to be considered a “major party” in the state and qualify for its own primary election.

“Johnson is currently polling in the 5 to 10 percent range nationally, but in New Mexico he is polling as high as 24 percent.

“The boost to major party status would mean Libertarian Party candidates for public office would not need to collect as many petition signatures to qualify for the ballot. The Libertarian Party would also be able to hold state-funded primary elections.

“In addition to Johnson winning more than 5 percent of the vote, the Libertarian Party also needs to see increase membership numbers before Gov. Susana Martinez issues a proclamation for the primary elections in January 2018.

“Libertarian Party of New Mexico Executive Director Burly Cain said he’s confident the party will gain the estimated 800 members they will need to get on the primary ballot in 2018.

“’I think we will have major party status by the end of next year,’ Cain said.

“One ‘big advantage’ major parties have is party name recognition, University of New Mexico political scientist Lonna Atkeson said.

“’Anyone can run in those parties, but the benefit is you become a name brand,’ Atkeson said.”

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