Gary Johnson: I could have power as the Senate swing vote

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 16, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CAVUTO: And he is also running for Senator in New Mexico, the Libertarian candidate for the state he governed for two very successful terms back in the late 90s and early 2000s and exclusive for his (inaudible) interview since filing to run.

With us now, the libertarian candidate for Senator from New Mexico, Gary Johnson. We did call his opponents, by the way, the incumbent Democratic senator Martin Heinrich and his Republican challenger (inaudible) for interviews. We still haven't heard back from either but we hope that each and both on the show. Governor, very good to have you

GARY JOHNSON, LIBERTARIAN CANDADITE: Thanks Neil. This was an unexpected opportunity. Completely unplanned but if it were laid on your plate that you might get -- be able to be elected to the U.S. Senate and be the Swing Vote in the Senate, I dare say you'd seriously have to consider doing that.

And I am doing. I think there needs to be a voice in Washington when it comes to spending, when it comes to the deficit. I really think that the deficit is the biggest issue facing this country right now and the eventually of continuing to print about 25 cents out of every dollar that we spend, at some point is going to be horrible inflation and that's going to be the worst taxable .


CAVUTO: Well, let's say -- let's say you made it. I'm sorry sir. But let's say you made it. Would you vote -- you would be a libertarian; we've never had a libertarian senator before. Would you vote with Republicans, would you vote with Democrats?

JOHNSON: Well, I'd like to think I'd take best of both sides and I'd be sitting in the middle and I'd sure be calling Trump out on what he has to say about immigration, what he has to say about spending, what he has to say about free markets and these tariffs. I just think that is crazy and that it has lead to--


CAVUTO: All right, so if you were senator now -- if you were senator now. The cabinet of (ph) Supreme Court nominations coming up, would you vote for him?

JOHNSON: Based on what I know, I would vote for him yes.

CAVUTO: OK. Now another aspect of this is -- governed (ph) -- you as a two term governor, very successful one in New Mexico, you vetoed I think close to what, 900 different bills. You were very big on small government.

Let people decide what they want obviously government is out of control and it's a fault to both parties as we've discussed many times throughout your career. What would you do to try to reign it in? Because right now we are looking trillion dollar deficits for at least the next few years.

JOHNSON: We're looking at trillion dollar deficits and where --- where is the senator pounding the table saying that this is unacceptable? I am not intending to go to the U.S. Senate and be a wall flower.

I intend to speak out on these issues. I'm -- I'm upset. Why is there a Department of Homeland Security? TSA, every time I got through TSA of the non-constitutional zone I get terribly upset. The federal government is growing.

We should be reducing the size and scope of the federal government and it seems to me that Republicans or Democrats, it doesn't matter, that the size and scope of federal government is increasing and everybody sees that.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, you know you're not polling too badly. (Inaudible) in fact that you're a late entrance and one poll I think has you at 22 percent compared to the Republican challenge at 29 percent of Heinrich (ph) of (ph) the incumbent senator's at 47 percent.

But that isn't too shabby in a state that Hilary Clinton beat Donald Trump in 2016 by eight points. So how -- how do you win over those who -- who look at you and say been there done that? How do you avoid the Tim Pawlenty fate where he wanted to come back into the governor's mansion and loses the primary?

JOHNSON: Well, this is really pivotal on money. Look, it's not about out raising your opponents but it's having parody when it comes to money and in the presidential races -- look, in 2016 we raised 12 million dollars to Donald Trump and Hilary Clintons 1.8 billion dollars apiece.

So I'm afraid there is a reality attached to having money and being able to get your message out and--


CAVUTO: Look, you got 10 percent -- almost 10 percent of the vote in your home state. That in an election like that. So that's not too bad but there are a lot of people just say your time has come and gone. Been there, done that. You're kind of quaint (ph) with the legalize pot thing and some other views in it. But that -- you don't excite them as a senator, you say?

JOHNSON: Well, we'll see Neil. I mean this is putting it on the line right. You can't win if you don't line up and I'm lining up. I'm putting it on the line.


CAVUTO: Governor, you said that you wouldn't line up. You were done running for office after your last presidential quest. What changed?

JOHNSON: Well, here's -- look, I've always said I don't want to be a U.S. Senator because I think the job involves bellying up to the trough and that's the last thing we need is more spending. We need to reduce the size and scope of the federal government.

So what's laid on my plate is arguably being one of the most powerful senators right out of the shoot because of being the swing vote and how close it will be between Democrats and Republicans and how the swing vote might actually determine senate outcomes.

That's terribly exciting, in my opinion. And this is a race that for me will be about nine weeks. I can do anything for nine weeks.

CAVUTO: Well, you're very physically fit. You climb mountains, marathons, god bless you. But, I mean, you're going to have to rely on a lot because you might not get a lot of money and then there might be resistance to a third party candidate. But let's say you do make it and into the senate, you're in the middle of this trade war that could still be going on, do you think the president is taking the right approach, getting a hard line with China, hard line with a lot of people.

JOHNSON: No, I don't. I think free trade is free trade and that the issues of intellectual property can be handled in different ways. And, look, we should be all about free trade. We should all be about free market. The private sector does everything better than the public sector, everything, and yet, we continue to expand government. We continue to expect government to do things that really it's incapable of doing.

CAVUTO: All right. So, you want smaller government. You also want to rein in entitlements and their growth. You know how that has gone in the past on Capitol Hill. Who are you more aligned with? That was something that Paul Ryan was big at trying to curb and you know how that went.

JOHNSON: Well, I'd like to think I'm aligned with most people. Let's not forget that the majority of Americans today, 45 percent of Americans that register to vote or registering is independent. Where's the representation when it comes to Democrats and Republicans? And I have dedicated myself to the inequality or just the fact that we are a party system.

Paraphrasing George Washington, he said, look. If this -- if our country ever devolves into political parties, we're done for.


CAVUTO: You have a lot of retirees in your state. How are you -- tell them. What are you going to tell them? I'm going to have to curb the growth of these entitlements for you or just down the road look at that as a possibility?

JOHNSON: Well, I've always been well-served by telling the truth and I think that that is the truth. Look. We've got to curb the growth in these policies or we're going to find ourselves in a situation where we're going to continue to overspend and at some point, inflation is going to come to bear on all of this.

CAVUTO: All right.

JOHNSON: And that's going to be the worst tax of all where the money in your pocket doesn't buy a thing because of how inflated it becomes.

CAVUTO: We'll watch very close. Governor, it's always good catching up with you.

JOHNSON: Thank you, Neil. It's good catching up with you.

CAVUTO: All right.

JOHNSON: Unexpected, but thank you.

CAVUTO: It's always good to have, again that call is out to the other challengers in this race including the incumbent Senator Martin Heinrich, if we hear back, of course they're welcome anytime, anywhere.

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