Fending off challenges from more extreme wings of the Libertarian party, Gary Johnson wooed his ticket’s skeptics in a nominating speech this afternoon at the national Libertarian convention.
The frontrunner didn’t mention the elephant in the room -– Johnson’s running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. Delegates here have been hesitant about Weld, questioning his commitment to the party given his earlier endorsement of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who some say was actively trying to keep Libertarians off the ballot in Ohio.
“Libertarian principles are very simple, but you can’t violate any of them and still call yourself Libertarian. Mr. Weld is not by any stretch of the imagination a Libertarian,” said John McAfee, one of Johnson’s rivals for the nomination.
During his speech, Johnson instead focused on major Libertarian talking points, decrying military intervention and equating taxation to theft.
“I am not Republican-lite,” he said, rebuking criticisms that he is not libertarian enough. “I am a Libertarian and I’m proud of it.
“The two party system is broken,” he went on, adding the Libertarian party has the opportunity “to achieve major party status” this cycle.
All of the national delegates here are free to vote for whichever candidate they want at this weekend’s meetings, unlike the two major parties, which bind most delegates according to a primary or caucus process.
Johnson will have five challengers in the presidential race, three of whom were…