Former New Mexico governor to run for president

BOSTON (Reuters) – Self-made millionaire and former two-term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson said on Thursday he will seek the Republican nomination for U.S. president in 2012.

Johnson, 58, made the announcement on the steps of the New Hampshire State House in Concord. New Hampshire holds an important early contest in the race for the Republican nomination.

“I have the qualifications, the ability and the know-how to do the job. I also have a track record,” Johnson said.

Johnson is considered a long-shot candidate to win his party’s nomination to challenge President Barack Obama, a Democrat who has announced he is running for re-election.

As a state governor, Johnson pushed for lower taxes and lower government spending, and set records by vetoing some 750 pieces of legislation.

“America needs a ‘President Veto’ right now — someone who will say ‘no’ to insane spending and stop the madness that has become Washington,” Johnson said.

Before entering politics, he founded one of New Mexico’s largest construction companies after starting out as a handyman to help pay for college.

(Reporting by Ros Krasny)