Cornell Republicans announced Friday that they will endorse Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president.

Kevin Clifford / The New York Times

Cornell Republicans announced Friday that they will endorse Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president.

September 2, 2016

Cornell Republicans Break Party Lines, Endorse Johnson for President

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Cornell University College Republicans announced this afternoon that they will endorse Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president, in a statement that acknowledged the wide spectrum of conservative beliefs that compose the club.

“Our organization does not solely represent the Republican Party,” the statement said, “Our first responsibility is to our members.”

Club leadership stressed that Cornell Republicans are “libertarians, moderates, neoconservatives and everyone in between.” In an “unprecedented” election year, campus Republicans say they could not tolerate Donald Trump as their party’s nominee.

“Mr. Trump should not be the face of American conservatism,” the club’s statement reads, proceeding to call Johnson a “true conservative.”

Thus, rather than endorsing their party’s nominee, Cornell Republicans say they are committed to helping Johnson reach the 15 percent threshold required to appear on the debate stage this fall.

The Republicans’ statement compared Johnson with both Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, pointing to Johnson’s decent rhetoric as a contrast to the Republican nominee’s “visceral … and angry demeanor.” They also denigrated Trump for “insult[ing] our war heroes,” and Clinton for a refusal to “meet the press.”

In contrast, Cornell Republicans lauded Johnson for his success in governing a blue state and demonstrated fidelity to limited government, low taxes, a balanced budget and public accountability.

“Joined by Bill Weld … the Libertarian ticket offers experienced, conservative solutions based on the ideas of free market and limited government,” the statement says.

Praising their club’s diversity and differences of opinion, Cornell Republicans expressed a desire to stand “on the right side of history” this election cycle.

“No one wants to vote for the lesser of two evils,” the statement says.

A day after the endorsement, the New York Federation of College Republicans revoked the Cornell Republicans’ recognition, calling it “unacceptable.”