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Hundreds attend rally for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson campaigned at the Hippodrome in Richmond Monday evening in front of hundreds of supporters.

The former New Mexico governor, who got 11 percent of the vote in Virginia in a recent poll, told those in attendance voting for him is not throwing their votes away.

He said if they vote for someone they don't believe in, then they are throwing their vote away.

He said he will make the much-needed reforms the two major candidates won't make.

“It’s been because all of you that at this point we’ve raised about $12 million to this campaign, which is just extraordinary, it really is,” he said Monday. “But it has been reported… numerous reports have been written that Hillary Clinton is spending $50 million to discredit me. If you have been on the internet, I am the dumbest guy that has ever walked the planet and I may be, but these issues are issues that are going to survive. And they’re going to survive because of all of you pushing them forward.”

Johnson also thanked the Richmond Times Dispatch, who endorsed Johnson in September. It was the first time the paper has endorsed a non-Republican candidate in 36 years.

Johnson also made stops at Liberty University and University of Virginia Monday.

He was originally slated appear at VCU’s Monroe Park campus, but organizers said the event was shifted to the Hippodrome to accommodate a larger crowd.

Where does Gary Johnson stand on the issues:

Gary Johnson and his running mate, Bill Weld, recently sat down with CNN’s Anderson Cooper for a town hall.


Hitting a topic very much within Johnson’s wheelhouse, the discussion turned briefly to the topic of marijuana. The Libertarian nominee is a former CEO of a legal cannabis company and has admitted to indulging in edible pot products in the recent past.

Diane Carlson, an undecided Republican voter, asked Johnson about medical cannabis products.

“What we need to do is de-schedule Marijuana as a Class 1 narcotic. There needs to be research and development on marijuana, and in no way are we supporting kids being able to use marijuana,” he said.

He didn’t appear to satisfy Carlson’s concerns about misinformation surrounding medicines containing chemicals found in marijuana.

“So much research and development needs to take place that hasn’t taken place,” Johnson said, also stressing that “marijuana products compete directly with legal prescription drugs.”

LGBT rights and religious liberty

Ellis Jeter, now a Columbia University Student, spoke of how he lost his job and student housing at a private religious school after he was outed as gay, and he asked the governors what they believed the role of government should be to protect people’s civil liberties.

Weld pointed to his actions as governor of Massachusetts in the 1990s to expand basic protections for LGBT people.

But Johnson reiterated a stance he holds that is somewhat at odds with many Libertarians. He said he did not support laws that would, for example, allow a baker to refuse to sell a cake for a gay couple on religious grounds.

“I fear that under the guise of religious liberty, the LGBT community is being discriminated against,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to support discrimination in any form whatsoever.”

But on the matter of judicial appointments, Johnson and Weld demurred. Both said they did not want to put forward a litmus test for potential judges.

On BLM: ‘My head’s been in the sand’

Shetamia Taylor, who was wounded during the Dallas police ambush in July, asked Johnson about the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Johnson offered a mea culpa and pledged to work now that he had gained a heightened sense of racial discrimination.

“My head’s been in the sand on this,” Johnson said. “I think we’ve all had our heads in the sand, and let’s wake up. This discrimination does exist.”

Weld also called black unemployment a “national emergency.”

The CNN Wire contributed the this story. 

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