Libertarian Gary Johnson is seeking a bounce in polls that would propel him onto the Hofstra University debate stage.
But first the presidential candidate bounced literally — and a lot — in a lowrider in New Mexico this past weekend.
Yes, that’s New Mexico’s former governor you see in video footage from Albuquerque before a rally on Saturday, both arms raised to the roof and holding on as a green lowrider car bounds high in the air. He smiles and claps at the end.
“From the look on his face, it's pretty clear he enjoyed it,” said Joe Hunter, Johnson’s communications director, in an email on Monday.
Hunter explained that when a couple of local lowrider groups found out that Johnson was having a rally, “they approached us and wanted to be involved. Of course, we were happy to have them.”
They greeted Johnson when he arrived at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
Johnson, who is running on a ticket with former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, needs to reach the 15 percent threshold in national polls to make it into the first presidential debate of 2016, at Hofstra on Sept. 26. He is averaging 8.9 percent, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average.
High-hopping lowriders, which are boosted by hydraulics, are prominent in New Mexico, where they are both symbols of Hispanic cultural identity and art on wheels, The Associated Press reported earlier this year.
Newsday.com asked Johnson’s campaign if it could imagine Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or Jill Stein doing the same thing.
“Lowriding is a part of the fabric of the Southwest that the other candidates really cannot understand,” Hunter responded. “If Donald Trump had any appreciation for that fabric, he probably wouldn't be talking about walls and rounding up families for deportation.”