CONCORD, N.H. -- The rules are specific - candidates wishing to participate in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary must file their candidacy papers during a two week period by a certain deadline - but on the final day there's one notable exception. Candidates must appear in person.
So it was that a contrite Gary Johnson made the long trek to Concord this morning, filling out his paperwork and handing over the $1,000 filing fee to Secretary of State Bill Gardner.
The former governor of New Mexico seemed bemused by the number of cameras that surrounded the historic wooden desk that candidates traditionally use to formally file their paperwork. "You can't be here for me," he said, clearly realizing the gathered media were waiting for Texas Governor Rick Perry who is also filing Friday.
Johnson seized what for him is a rare opportunity to speak to the media, saying of his last minute dash to New Hampshire "bottom line, we just screwed up. I shouldn't be here, I wasn't intending to be here in person. I expected to file by mail."
Johnson flew the red-eye from Phoenix, leaving at midnight and landing at Boston's Logan Airport at 7:30 this morning, noting the ticket was $500 one way.
As a long shot candidate, Johnson is fighting an uphill battle in the Granite State, lacking the name recognition of well funded opponents like Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. A few weeks ago Johnson biked 500-miles across New Hampshire, meeting and greeting as many people as possible. "We met a lot of folks ... just keep plugging away," he said before thanking the secretary of state and strolling alone down a state house hallway to catch a flight home.