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Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson did not make the cut for the first presidential debate, which is later this month.
The nonprofit Commission on Presidential Debates invited both Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, to debate at Hofstra University in New York on September 26.
Johnson and Jill Stein, the Green Party’s nominee, were left out.
Per the CPD’s criteria, candidates must be constitutionally eligible to hold the office of the presidency and have the support of at least 15% of the national electorate in a set of polls.
The five polls used by the CPD found Johnson’s polling average at 8.4%, compared with 43% for Clinton and 40.4% for Trump.
“The CPD may scoff at a ticket that enjoys ‘only’ 9 or 10% in their hand-selected polls, but even 9% represents 13 million voters, more than the total population of Ohio and most other states,” Johnson said in a statement Friday. “Yet, the Republicans and Democrats are choosing to silence the candidate preferred by those millions of Americans.”
The last time a third-party candidate made the debate stage was in 1992, when Ross Perot debated Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. There was no polling threshold that year, according to The Hill.