BERKELEY (KCBS) – In the 1990s it was Ross Perot. In 2000 it was Ralph Nader. Now in 2012, the former governor of New Mexico could be the spoiler in the presidential campaign and help determine who wins the White House.

Former two-term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson sought the Republican nomination, unsuccessfully, before becoming the Libertarian nominee.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

He brought his campaign to the Bay Area this week, stumping on the UC Berkeley campus, wooing those who were passionate about Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

“If you were a genuine Ron Paul supporter, I don’t see an alternative in either voting for Romney or Obama,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he wants to balance the budget immediately by cutting federal spending 43 percent and overhauling the tax system.

“I support eliminating income tax, corporate tax, abolishing the IRS and replacing all that with one federal consumption tax, the Fair Tax,” he said. “I think that really reboots the economy.”

An ironman triathlete who’s climbed Mt. Everest, Johnson wants to legalize marijuana and call federal agents off California’s medical marijuana dispensaries, making him popular on the Cal campus, where former Paul supporter Michael Pickens said he will vote Libertarian in November.

“I love him. He’s a great guy,” Pickens said. “Gary Johnson is my man, 100 percent.”

Johnson is on the ballot in 47 states and polling from 3-6 percent, meaning he could make a difference in a swing state or two.

“In New Mexico and Colorado, I take more votes away from Obama. In North Carolina and Michigan, I take more votes away from Romney,” he said. “A wasted vote is voting for somebody you don’t believe in. So vote for someone you believe in and if everybody wastes their vote on me, I’m the next President of the United States.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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