Democrats have an uphill climb if they hope to take control of the U.S. Senate in 2018.
They can’t afford to lose any so-called “safe” seats.
But this former Governor just threw a wrench into their plans when he announced a run for U.S. Senate.
Two-term Governor Gary Johnson just announced his intention to run for U.S. Senate as a Libertarian Party candidate in New Mexico.
— Gov. Gary Johnson (@GovGaryJohnson) August 14, 2018
While it’d normally be easy to shrug off a Libertarian Candidate as an “also-ran,” Johnson won his first term for Governor as a Republican in 1994 when New Mexico was 2-to-1 Democrat at the time.
Democrats were expected to oust him in 1998, but he won by a margin of 55% to 45%.
Despite his late entrance, it has New Mexico Democrats nervous.
The Daily Caller noted New Mexico Democrats were already punching down at Johnson:
“While Gary Johnson has been off pursuing the national spotlight and his personal ambitions, Martin Heinrich has been on the front lines fighting for New Mexicans,” said New Mexico Democratic Party chair Marg Elliston, according to the AP.
Running as the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate, he received 9% of the vote, which Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog said polling showed Johnson taking disproportionately from Clinton’s support instead of Trump’s.
Incumbent Senator Martin Heinrich was widely expected to coast to re-election in 2018.
Now, he finds himself in a three-way-race with Republican Mick Rich and Governor Johnson.
Since Governor Johnson’s top issue is legalizing marijuana, it makes sense he would once again take votes from Democrats more than New Mexico’s Republicans.
Will Johnson cut into Heinrich’s base of support and cost Democrats a “safe” Senate seat in 2018?
We’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date on any developments in this race and others as the 2018 midterm elections near!