Third-Party Candidates Gary Johnson, Jill Stein Fail to Meet First Presidential Debate Threshold

Gary Johnson presidential campaign
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Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein failed to make the cut to participate in the first presidential debate on Sept. 26.

The Commission on Presidential Debates said that only Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met the threshold for inclusion in the debate. Participants much have demonstrated a 15% level of support based on recent polls.

The board of directors of the commission determined that Johnson averaged 8.4% and Stein averaged 3.2%.

The commission looked at polls from ABC-Washington Post, CBS-New York Times, CNN-Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News and NBC-Wall Street Journal.

Clinton was at 43% and Trump at 40.4%.

The first debate will be held on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Lester Holt will moderate.

The commission said that the third-party candidates may still be eligible for the second and third debates in October if they meet the threshold closer to those dates. The second debate will be on Oct. 9 and the third on Oct. 19.

Update: In a statement, Johnson said, “I would say I am surprised that the CPD has chosen to exclude me from the first debate, but I’m not. After all, the Commission is a private organization created 30 years ago by the Republican and Democratic parties for the clear purpose of taking control of the only nationally-televised presidential debates voters will see. At the time of its creation, the leaders of those two parties made no effort to hide the fact that they didn’t want any third party intrusions into their shows.”