Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, announced today in New Hampshire that he's running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012:

Johnson, who served as New Mexico governor from 1995 to 2003, became the first Republican to launch an official presidential campaign as he made his announcement in a speech from the steps of the New Hampshire State House in Concord. His staff simultaneously tweeted: "I am running for president."

Unlike fellow GOP contenders Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, Johnson has foregone an exploratory committee and instead jumped straight into the race. He plans to hold a press conference Thursday afternoon, and on Friday he will host a kick-off event in Manchester.

Last fall, the libertarian Johnson talked to me about his recent medicinal marijuana use and shared his views on war, defense spending, abortion, 9/11 Truthers, gay marriage, Supreme Court nominees, and Ayn Rand.

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