Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein will not be on the presidential debate stage for the first contest sponsored by the Commission on President Debates. Johnson and Stein both fell short of the 15 percent polling threshold required to participate, the commission said in a statement, adding that Trump and Clinton will face off on September 26 and their running mates, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, will debate on October 4. Johnson in particular was pushing hard for inclusion in the debates, as he’d polled in the double digits across several national surveys, and previously said he would only have a chance to win if he can debate Trump and Clinton.
In a statement, Gov. Johnson lamented his exclusion from the debate stages, writing: “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.”