Utah state senators had the opportunity to meet with a presidential candidate Wednesday — Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s presumptive nominee. Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, spoke to both Republican and Democratic state senators during their midday caucuses at the invitation of Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs.
Madsen, a delegate to the Republican Party’s national convention in July where billionaire businessman Donald Trump will be formally nominated, said he has also been asked to speak to the Libertarian Party’s convention later this month.
Madsen said he wanted his Senate colleagues to hear from an alternative to Trump and the Democrat’s likely nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, because both mainstream party candidates have “high negatives.”
Johnson, whose second try for the White House is headquartered in Salt Lake City, is positioning himself as a choice for conservative voters unhappy with Trump’s controversial positions on Muslims, immigrants and many other issues.
“Both of the other candidates are so unattractive that people are looking at him,” Madsen said. “He’s been a governor of a state. He’s successful. He’s got a record. He’s not some kook.”
Johnson is known for supporting the decriminalization of marijuana. Madsen unsuccessfully sought to legalize medical marijuana in the 2016 Legislature.