The Richmond Times-Dispatch has endorsed the Republican nominee for president in every election for 36 years. But in 2016 the Virginia newspaper has turned its back on Donald Trump and endorsed Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson.

“We are confident that, if given the opportunity to make his case, Gary Johnson will persuade millions of Americans that he is the most capable and ethical candidate running this year,” said the editorial. “We have over the years interviewed hundreds of politicians and there’s no doubt that Johnson belongs in the major leagues, and on the debate stage this fall. He is a skilled and experienced leader, an able communicator, an intelligent man.”

Johnson, who served as New Mexico’s governor for two terms, received only 1 percent of the Virginia vote in 2012. A recent Quinnipiac poll from mid-August had him at 12 percent, a considerable improvement.

“Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton meets the fundamental moral and professional standards we have every right to expect of an American president,” said the editorial while adding about Trump, “the Republican candidate’s statements and behavior daily piled distress upon puzzlement.”

The Trump campaign may soon write-off Virginia, and its electoral votes, as Hillary Clinton has maintained a double-digit lead since picking Sen. Tim Kaine as her running-mate.

Johnson is also having a negative affect on the Trump campaign in Arizona, where a growing number of mainstream Republicans could vote for him and tip the traditionally red state to Clinton.

“It could happen, Johnson is an easy out for some people in our party” said GOP Sen. Jeff Flake earlier today. “Donald Trump has managed to make this an interesting state in terms of presidential politics, and not in the way that Republicans have wanted.”

While conservatives complain that most newspapers are liberal, in fact, a majority of swing state newspapers, like the Richmond Times-Dispatch, endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012.

 

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