Third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein failed to qualify for the first presidential debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Friday.
“[T]he Board determined that the polling averages called for in the third criterion are as follows: Hillary Clinton (43%), Donald Trump (40.4%), Gary Johnson (8.4%) and Jill Stein (3.2%). Accordingly, Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, and Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, qualify to participate in the September 26 presidential debate and the October 4 vice-presidential debate, respectively. No other candidates satisfied the criteria for inclusion in the September 26 and October 4 debates. The criteria will be reapplied to all candidates in advance of the second and third presidential debates,” the Commission said in a statement.
The Green Party’s Open Letter to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Johnson and Stein need to achieve a 15% polling average in order to be included. They both meet the Commission’s other two criteria: they are constitutionally eligible and are on the ballots in enough states to win a theoretical Electoral College majority.
“Bill Weld and I will continue to fight to provide a voice and an alternative for independents, disenfranchised Republicans and Democrats, Millennials and others who aren’t satisfied with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as their options,” Libertarian candidate Johnson said in a statement after the Commission’s announcement. “It is unfortunate that the CPD doesn’t believe such a voice should be heard. There are more polls and more debates, and we plan to be on the debate stage in October.”