Could Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson hurt Mitt Romney in the West?

Published: Friday, June 15 2012 10:14 a.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, gestures as he speaks to supporters at Oklahoma state Republican Party Headquarters in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 9, 2012.

Sue Ogrocki, Associated Press

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With presumptive nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama both on track to raise nearly $1 billion each, Reuters reporter Samuel P. Jacobs looks at how libertarian candidate Gary Johnson might impact the contest in the western U.S.:

Johnson - who turned a plumbing and remodeling business into one of New Mexico's largest construction companies before selling it 1999 - rejects the notion that he could be a third-party spoiler for Romney, as Ralph Nader was to Democrat Al Gore in 2000 and Ross Perot to Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992.

He envisions a scenario in which his campaign will get a boost in September, after Paul - a Republican who also calls for an extremely limited government - is expected to leave the presidential race. Although Romney has clinched the Republican nomination, Paul remains in the race, which could give him a chance to influence the party's platform at its convention in Tampa, Florida, in late August.

Johnson, a marathon-runner, hopes to inherit Paul's small but devoted core of fans as the presidential race enters its final stretch.

Read more about Gary Johnson's potential impact on the presidential race on Reuters.

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