New Hampshire Union Leader breaks with 100-year tradition of backing Republicans for president

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee for president.

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee for president.

WASHINGTON — The conservative New Hampshire Union Leader, the daily newspaper in Manchester, broke with a 100-year tradition of backing Republicans Wednesday by endorsing Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson for president.

The endorsement, written by publisher Joseph W. McQuaid comes as Trump is set to visit New Hampshire on Thursday.

“The man is a liar, a bully, a buffoon,” McQuaid wrote in the op-ed about Trump. “He denigrates any individual or group that displeases him. He has dishonored military veterans and their families, made fun of the physically frail, and changed political views almost as often as he has changed wives.”

McQuaid said that he supports the Libertarian ticket — Johnson and running mate Bill Weld — adding: “In today’s dark times, they are a bright light of hope and reason.”

The endorsement came after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said at a GOP breakfast event on Wednesday that a Republican who isn’t backing Trump is helping Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“If you are a Republican and you are not working for Donald Trump over the next 55 days, you are working for Hillary Clinton,” Christie, a Trump surrogate, said.

Christie, meanwhile, knows full well the potential impact of a Union Leader endorsement. After receiving the paper’s backing during the GOP primary, he landed with a thud in fifth place during the Granite State contest.