PRESS RELEASE from Gary Johnson 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 20, 2012, Salt Lake City
NOMINEE GARY JOHNSON REQUESTS INCLUSION IN DEBATES IN
LETTER TO COMMISSION ON PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee for President and a former New
Mexico Governor, sent letters to members of the Commission on
Presidential Debates today, requesting that the organization throw out
its exclusionary requirements that limit participation in October's
three nationally televised debates to the Republican and Democratic
Please see entirety of Gov. Johnson's letter below.
Dear [Commission Member]
am writing to request that the national Commission on Presidential
Debates reconsider your current – and exclusionary – requirements for
participation in this Fall’s all-important Presidential and
I am well aware of the
history and genesis of the Commission, including the reality that it
was created largely by the respective national leadership of the
Democrat and Republican Parties. While I respect and understand the
intention to provide a reasonable and theoretically nonpartisan
structure for the presidential debate process, I would suggest that the
Commission’s founding, organization and policies are heavily skewed
toward limiting the debates to the two so-called major parties.
is unfortunate, and frankly, out of touch with the electorate. You rely
very heavily on polling data to determine who may participate in your
debates, yet your use of criteria that are clearly designed to limit
participation to the Republican and the Democrat nominee ignore the
fact that many credible polls indicate that a full one-third of the
electorate do not clearly identify with either of those parties.
Rather, they are independents whose voting choices are not determined
by party affiliation.
That one-third of the voters,
as well as independent-thinking Republicans and Democrats, deserve an
opportunity to see and hear a credible “third party” candidate. I
understand that there are a great many “third party” candidates, and
that a line must be drawn somewhere. However, the simple reality of our
Electoral College system draws that line in a very straightforward and
fair way – a reality that is reflected in your existing criteria. If a
candidate is not on the ballot in a sufficient number of states to be
elected by the Electoral College, it is perfectly logical to not
include that candidate in a national debate. If, on other hand, a
candidate IS on the ballot in enough states to be elected, there is no
logic by which that candidate should be excluded.
in the Constitution or in law is it written that our President must be
a Democrat or a Republican. However, it IS written that a candidate
must receive a majority of the votes – or at least 50% - cast by
electors, and that any candidate who does so, and otherwise meets the
Constitution’s requirements, may be President.
Libertarian Party’s nominees for Vice-President and President, Judge
Jim Gray and I have already qualified to be on the ballot in more than
enough states to obtain a majority in the Electoral College, and we are
the only candidates other than the Republican and Democrat nominees to
have done so, or who are likely to do so. In fact, we fully intend and
expect to be on the ballots of all 50 states and the District of
However, the Commission has chosen to impose
yet another requirement for participation: 15% in selected public
opinion polls. Unlike your other requirements, this polling performance
criterion is entirely arbitrary and based, frankly, on nothing other
than an apparent attempt to limit participation to the Democrat and the
Requiring a certain level of approval in
the polls has nothing to do with fitness to serve, experience or
credibility as a potential President. Rather, it has everything to do
with the hundreds of millions of dollars available to and spent by the
two major party candidates, the self-fulfilling bias of the news media
against the viability of third party candidates, and an ill-founded
belief that past dominance of the Republican and Democrat Parties
should somehow be a template for the future.
due respect, it is not the proper role of a non-elected, private and
tax-exempt organization to narrow the voters’ choices to only the two
major party candidates – which is the net effect of your arbitrary
polling requirement. To the contrary, debates are the one element of
modern campaigns and elections that should be immune to unfair
advantages based upon funding and party structure. Yet, it is clear
that the Commission’s criteria have both the intent and the effect of
limiting voters’ choices to the candidates of the two major
who, in fact, created the Commission in the first place.
the arbitrary polling requirement would align the Commission and its
procedure for deciding who may participate in the critical debates with
fairness and true nonpartisanship, which was the purported intent
behind the Commission’s creation. As of right now, eliminating that
requirement would not disrupt the process or make it unmanageable.
Rather, it would simply allow the participation of a two-term governor
who has more executive experience than Messrs. Obama and Romney
combined, who has garnered sufficiently broad support to be on the
ballot in more than enough states to achieve a majority in the
Electoral College, and who, without the help of party resources and
special interests, has attracted enough financial support to qualify
for presidential campaign matching funds.
I urge and
request you to remove the partisanship from the debates, and allow the
voters an opportunity to hear from all of the qualified candidates –
not just those who happen to be a Democrat or a Republican.
Governor Gary Johnson
Libertarian Nominee for President of the United States
presidential candidate Gary Johnson: Gary Johnson, two-term governor of
New Mexico from 1995-2003, has been a consistent advocate for limited,
efficient government and personal liberty. Johnson switched from the
Republican Party to the Libertarian Party on Dec. 28, 2011. As the
Libertarian Party nominee, Johnson will appear on all 50 states'
ballots. An outspoken pro-Constitution Libertarian, Johnson would end
the war in Afghanistan now. He opposes the failed multi-billion dollar
war on drugs and demands greater transparency at the Federal Reserve.
As president, Johnson would cut federal spending by 43 percent, slash
debt and make government live within its means while reducing taxes and
regulation to foster real job creation and economic opportunity like he
did in eight years as governor. The National Review said he was "#1" in
job creation as governor. An avid skier and bicyclist, he has reached
the highest peaks on four of the seven continents, including Mount