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Gary Johnson files for N.H. primary just in time

Former Gov. Gary Johnson filed the paperwork for his candidacy in the New Hampshire presidential primary — mere hours before the filing deadline in the crucial early primary state. After a campaign mix-up, Johnson was forced to take a red-eye from Arizona to file his paperwork in person.

The New Hampshire primary is particularly important for Johnson’s long-shot candidacy. He is pro-abortion rights, supports marriage equality and marijuana legalization, positions that make him anathema to Iowa’s social conservative caucus voters. His campaign has counted on performing well in New Hampshire, which is known for its libertarian bent.

In his most recent debate performance, Johnson gained brief national attention for joking that his neighbor’s dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than President Obama. He also repeatedly touted his proposal for a balanced budget amendment, no doubt in the hope that Republican voters would respond more to his fiscal conservatism than to his social liberalism.

According to Democracy in Action, Johnson has spent more time in New Hampshire than any other GOP presidential candidate, a total of 18 visits and 70 days total. His presence in the state has eclipsed even fellow former Gov. Jon Huntsman (Utah), another candidate distrusted by social conservatives who has spent a total of 42 days in New Hampshire.

The New York Times’ Michael Shear notes that had the early winter storm predicted for the East Coast this weekend “swept in 24 hours earlier, Mr. Johnson might have found himself out of luck.”

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