Libertarian hopeful Johnson insists he can mount competitive campaign

Story highlights

  • "It is a process, so first you got to engage in dialogue and that dialogue is actually occurring," Johnson said
  • At the end of the April filing period, Johnson had just $14,924 cash on hand

Washington (CNN)Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson said Saturday his ticket is moving toward raising the $20 million that he says is needed to launch a competitive presidential bid -- even though he had a paltry $15,000 in the bank as of his most recent campaign finance report.

"When I interviewed you and former Gov. (Bill) Weld just a couple of weeks ago, we noted that you had at the last filing period about $15,000 on hand. Frankly, that's not enough to buy you a good used car," CNN's Victor Blackwell told Johnson. "But Gov. Weld said that you need $20 to $30 million to really get into the conversation and for people to take you seriously. How's that progress? Are you raising the big-dollar donations that you would need to get to this $20 to $30 million threshold that Gov. Weld said?"
"It is a process, so first you got to engage in dialogue and that dialogue is actually occurring," Johnson replied on "CNN Newsroom." "There has to be interest. That interest is there. Has that $20 to $30 million transpired? Meaning have checks been written? Not to this point, but it is a process. And it looks pretty bright."
    At the end of the April filing period, the most recent period for which data is available, Johnson had $14,924 cash on hand, though that was before Johnson officially became the Libertarian Party's nominee. He cited a recent Fox News poll that found him earning 12% support, which he said should encourage voters. To qualify for a major presidential debate, a candidate must cross a threshold of at least 15% in multiple national polls.
    "It's pretty darn remarkable to be at this level in the polls for the amount of money we have spent," Johnson said. "We are taking advantage of social media and earned media. I think it speaks volumes to what we might do in office being fiscally conservative, being very frugal."
    2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who has ruled out voting for presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Friday that he would take a look at Johnson's policies to see if he's someone he "could end up voting for."
    Johnson said Saturday that others should join Romney in giving the Libertarian ticket a closer look.
    "I think Mitt Romney hit it on the head. He said, 'Hey, I'm going to check out Gary Johnson and see what he's got to say,'" Johnson said. "I think that kind of scrutiny holds up under the light of day."