Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’ Jill Stein have failed to qualify for the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Friday.
In order for third-party presidential candidates to qualify for the national debate stage, they must be constitutionally eligible to be President, have achieved ballot access in a sufficient number of states to win a theoretical Electoral College majority in the general election, and have demonstrated a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate. Both Stein and Johnson succeeded in the first two criteria, but fell short on the third, according to a statement from the commission.
According to the commission’s own average of polls, it determined that Hillary Clinton stood at 43 percent support, Donald Trump at 40.4 percent, Gary Johnson at 8.4 percent and Jill Stein at 3.2 percent.
The commission said in its release that both Stein and Johnson will be re-evaluated for entry to later debates.
Both Stein and Johnson have been outspoken about wanting to be included in the presidential debates. Johnson released a statement following the news that expressed his disappointment and vowed to be on the stage at the next debate in October.
“I would say I am surprised that the CPD has chosen to exclude me from the first debate, but I’m not,” he said in the statement. “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.”
Stein has not spoken out publicly as of this posting.
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