updated 5/17/2011 6:16:53 PM ET 2011-05-17T22:16:53

SANTA FE, N.M., May 17, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson today announced that he has received the official endorsement of legendary entertainer Willie Nelson and the National Teapot Party, which Nelson co-founded. The endorsement comes following a meeting between Johnson and Nelson last week, and marks the first presidential endorsement for the Teapot Party.
 
Upon hearing the news of the endorsement, Governor Johnson said, "I am truly gratified to have the endorsement of such a legendary entertainer and champion for individual rights as Willie Nelson." Johnson continued, "Not only is Willie a superstar talent but, he is a strong advocate for social change, as seen through his tireless work on behalf of family owned farms and hard working Americans.  People across this country are demanding the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams without interference from a heavy-handed government, and Willie and I stand together to lend our voices to those demands."
 
Recently, Governor Johnson appeared in the first Republican Presidential debate on FOX News. Throughout the debate, Governor Johnson reinforced his reputation and credentials as the most fiscally conservative governor in modern times, including his unmatched record of vetoing 750 bills. Governor Johnson was the only candidate to discuss sensible drug policy, advocating a cost-benefit analysis of the War on Drugs. As part of his drug policy platform, Johnson reiterated his unequivocal support of marijuana legalization, stating, "I advocate legalizing marijuana – control it, regulate it, tax it."  
 
Serving as the Republican Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, Johnson formally announced his candidacy for President of the United States in April from the New Hampshire State House.
   
Please contact Sue Winchester or Lizz Renda at media@garyjohnson2012.com or at 801.303.7924 to schedule an interview with Gary Johnson. For more information, please visit www.garyjohnson2012.com .

About Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson:  Gary Johnson, a Republican and two-term Governor of New Mexico from 1994-2002, has been a consistent and outspoken advocate for efficient government and lowering taxes.

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