Perry Johnson, a millionaire businessman and author from Michigan, plans to tell a VIP gathering at the Conservative Political Action Conference that he’s jumping into the 2024 presidential race on a platform of reducing the nation’s soaring debt and deficits.
Mr. Johnson, 75, set up a booth at CPAC to reach out to those attending the influential gathering of conservatives and to promote his policies.
A few aides handed out ‘Perry-Who?’ business cards to passersby, along with a placard asking CPAC attendees to write in his name on the CPAC straw poll of favorite GOP presidential candidates.
Mr. Johnson is “legit serious” about his self-funded presidential campaign, an aide said, and he’s hired someone to help him get on the ballot in every state.
He won’t announce his campaign on the main stage at CPAC, which takes place this year at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center outside of Washington. Instead, he plans to discuss his plans with a gathering of people invited to a “VIP event” at the same hotel.
His planned entry into the race follows 2024 campaign announcements by former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and Biotech tycoon Vivek Ramaswamy, who will both speak at CPAC this week.
Former President Donald Trump, who leads Republicans in national polls, announced his 2024 White House bid in November.
Mr. Johnson describes himself as a “quality guru” and author who has a plan to restore fiscal responsibility and cut inflation. He authored a book touting his “two cents plan” to cut federal discretionary spending by 2% annually.
Outside the main CPAC ballroom, Mr. Johnson was followed by a trail of television reporters who asked him whether he had a chance of resonating with voters, few of whom have ever heard of him.
“The reality is, we’ll have to see what happens,” Mr. Johnson said.
He promoted his plan to cut federal spending.
“I personally believe that by just spending too much money, spending reckless amounts of money, is what has caused inflation and people are not happy with this,” he said. “But I have a way to solve it.”
Mr. Johnson attempted to run for Michigan governor last year but was denied a place on the GOP primary ballot due to a determination by the Michigan elections bureau that some of the signatures on his nominating petition were invalid.
His sights are now set on the presidency and he’s taken out $600,000 ad buys in Iowa and New Hampshire and has officially declared himself a presidential candidate, his spokeswoman, Elizabeth Stoddart, told The Washington Times.
He debuted an advertisement in Iowa during the Super Bowl when he was contemplating either a presidential or Senate campaign.
The ad depicts Democratic lawmakers in images that were altered to make them look bloated.
“Our fat bloated government is choking us with inflation,” a narrator says. The ad features Johnson promoting a 2% spending cut, which would reduce inflation.
“Problem solved,” Mr. Johnson says in the ad.