Libertarian Gary Johnson looking to shake things up in November

Libertarian Gary Johnson looking to shake things up in November

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

With less than 100 days before the general election, one candidate is looking to continue shaking things up. 

A third party candidate has not made a Presidential debate stage since Ross Perot in 1992. Libertarians Gary Johnson and Bill Weld are hoping to change that. 

"We're creeping up on that figure that will get us into the debates," Weld said. "I can almost guarantee you, if we get to 15, we're going to get to 20 percent and at that time, we're going to be extremely dangerous as a ticket."

A recent CNN poll had Johnson as high as 13 percent, but according to Real Clear Politics, other national polls have him barely breaking 10 percent. To get on the stage, he has to have an average of 15 percent across five national measures.

South Plains College professor Drew Landry said, even if he gets on stage, the candidate may ignore him.

"Whenever I have seen third parties in debates, they just kind of ignore them and say, 'whatever they have to say, oh well, that's nice to know,'" Landry said. "You just stay over there and let us focus on the other candidate, the real candidate."

Kerry McKennon, County Coordinator for the Libertarian Party of Texas, said if that happens, it will just show what he has known all along. 

"If he is on stage, even the rigging of that system is going to be even more apparent," McKennon said. "Especially if they're saying 'Secretary Clinton, da da da da, then they say Mr. Trump, da da da,' and they don't ever get to Johnson. The amount of social media is going to be like, 'what the hell? Why aren't y'all asking him the question?'"

Adam Testerman, Texas Tech's Director of Forensics, said even getting to that point could be hard for Johnson.

"The problem is, is that a lot of people still don't know who Gary Johnson is," Testerman said. "A lot of people are still generally thinking that a vague idea of a third party option is a good one but, I don't know that people really understand or know what the Libertarian Party itself stands for."

That uphill battle could be getting easier as speculation of Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush endorsing Johnson-Weld has surfaced, but until Johnson is on the debate stage, Donald Trump and Secretary Clinton probably will not be taking him very seriously. 

"It really depends on how he is polling and what his message is and whose following it," Landry said. "Because, in order for him to be on the stage, he has to at least be at 15 percent nationwide. If he's got that kind of following, it may not be a bad idea to take him a little bit seriously that how they typically do."

McKennon said the case for the Libertarian ticket is about the individual's liberties and freedoms.

"The lesser of two evils is still evil," McKennon said. "You have a choice to not choose evil and you know, even if it's based on my Christian morals who I should vote for, you should not be voting for evil, that means you're voting for Gary Johnson."

According to the Commission on Presidential Debates, the invitation polls will be averaged after Labor Day. The first presidential debate is scheduled for September 26th. 

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