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Libertarian Ticket Pushes for Debate Invite in Full-Page NYT Ad

The Libertarian Party took out a full page ad in the New York Times on Wednesday, calling for Gary Johnson to be featured in the national debates.

The Hill reports:

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico, and running mate Bill Weld, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, make the case in the letter that public opinion and the unique circumstances surrounding the 2016 election demand their appearance on stage later this month.

The former GOP governors will point to a Quinnipiac University survey released last week that found 62 percent of voters want Johnson on stage beside Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

They’ll argue that there is unprecedented interest in their ticket in a year when the major party candidates are historically unpopular.

“We are surging among millennials, Latinos, and active duty members of the military,” Johnson and Weld write. “A survey of more than 70,000 voters just published by the Washington Post showed support for our ticket at double digits in 42 states, at more than 15 percent in fifteen states, and 19 percent or more than four states. Our ticket is clearly a factor in the presidential election and should be represented in the debates.”

The debate commission is expected to announce in the coming days that only Trump and Clinton have qualified for the first presidential debate, which will take place in Hempstead, N.Y., on Sept. 26.

Johnson and Weld will be on the ballot in all 50 states and are polling between 9 and 12 percent in national surveys, but the bipartisan commission requires a candidate be polling at a 15 percent average in five specific national polls released this month to qualify.

Polls show Johnson and Weld, both former GOP governors of traditionally blue states, are drawing more support away from Clinton than they are from Trump.

The Libertarians have acknowledged that if they can’t get into the debates, their presidential hopes are doomed. A lawsuit Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein filed against the commission was thrown out last month.

But Johnson and Weld have been boosted by several high-profile figures – Mitt Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger among them – who have called for the Libertarians to be included in the debates.

The Libertarian ticket has been endorsed by more newspaper editorial boards than Trump, ramping up pressure on the commission to modify its criteria.

“The conditions of the presidential election of 2016 are extraordinary and without precedent,” their letter states. “The collective destiny of millions of American voters now comes down to the methodologies of pollsters, the handful of respondents surveyed and the board members, directors and co-chairmen of your organization. America has stated that’s too great a responsibility to reside in the hands of so small a number of people.”

In the letter, Johnson and Weld ask to be included in only the first debate. If they don’t meet the 15 percent threshold after that, “we’ll make no further efforts for inclusion in subsequent debates,” they write.

“Your board was empaneled to ensure fairness in the political process,” the ad says. “|This is an unparalleled moment in our nation’s history and the eyes of the world are upon all of us. We invite you to be on the right side of that history. And so, we formally ask: You in?”

Photo credit: Screenshot.

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