Gary Johnson Excluded from New Hampshire Debateby Stephen Littau
Of 13 candidates and potential candidates for the G.O.P nomination who were invited to participate in the June 13th debate in New Hampshire, 7 have decided to participate. As of now, the 7 participants in the debate will be Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. Notable no-shows are Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, Rudy Giuliani, and Jon Huntsman (Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee were also invited but both have since decided not to run).
Not invited to participate: 2 term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. Johnson did not meet the “objective criteria” as determined by CNN, WMUR, and the New Hampshire Union Leader. To put it bluntly, Johnson’s poll numbers are too low for him to qualify.
The Johnson campaign is understandably very disappointed that their candidate was not invited to debate in a very key early primary state. Ron Nielson, a blogger for Johnson’s official campaign website writes:
In the latest Gallup poll, released one week ago, Governor Johnson’s level of support registered at 3% nationally. This is competitive with candidates like Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum, both of whom have been invited to participate. In fact, I’m not aware of a poll in which Mr. Santorum has out-polled Governor Johnson nationally.
Why are CNN, WMUR, and the Union Leader excluding the one Republican candidate with executive experience and a record of fighting for true fiscal conservatism and limited government? Why are they denying Americans the opportunity to hear from the Republican presidential candidate whose popularity is growing by the day? If only Governor Johnson had supported a statewide health insurance mandate, like other candidates.
From there, Nielson encourages Johnson’s supporters to contact CNN, WMUR, and the Union Leader and urge them to change their minds. Nielson also points out that 2 of the debate participants, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum haven’t even officially announced (seems to me that if the debate organizers wanted to exclude individuals, limiting the participants to those who have announced would be a more fair criteria).
In a statement Gov. Johnson released yesterday, he said he respects the decision of the debate sponsors but said its “unfortunate” that there will be a “missing voice” in the debate:
What will be missing is the voice of those who hold an undiluted view of individual liberty – those who believe that individual rights extend to women who face choices about abortion, Americans who happen to be gay, and those who don’t place other asterisks on freedom.
Likewise, there will be no voice for the growing number of Americans who see the hypocrisy and failure of drug laws that condone alcohol at White House Dinners while incarcerating millions of Americans, including our kids, who choose to smoke pot.
I look forward to participating in the July 10 debate in Las Vegas, sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform and the Daily Caller.
I’ve already made my case why candidates should not be excluded from the debates at this early stage, so I’m not going to repeat those arguments here. There is one point I intended to make in that post that I forgot to bring up though: the point in the campaign when candidates should be excluded from debates.
Is there a point in which candidates should be excluded? Of course! The point at which candidates should be excluded from the debates should be when it is mathematically impossible for the candidate to win enough delegates for the nomination. Last time I checked there haven’t been any primary votes and not a single delegate awarded to any candidate. Gov. Johnson has exactly the same number of delegates as Gov. Romney: 0.
Less than a month ago, Hugh Hewitt dismissed Ron Paul, Herman Cain, and Gary Johnson as “1%ers” who should be “exiled” from the debates because they have “no prayer of winning.” As of right now according to the RCP Average, Rep. Ron Paul is running in 4th place with 8.3% and Herman Cain is in 5th with 7.2%. Gov. Johnson doesn’t register on the RCP Average but is polling between 1-3% in the polls individually. In the most recent CNN/Opinion Research Poll (May 24 -26) “HORSE RACE WITHOUT RUDY GIULIANI OR SARAH PALIN” Ron Paul comes in 2nd with 15%, Herman Cain 3rd with 13% and Gary Johnson 9th with 2%.
While these poll numbers do not bode well for Johnson at this point, the other two individuals who were “1%ers” who had no business being included in the debates less than a month ago are polling better than some of the establishment favorites. Less than a month ago Herman Cain lacked name recognition and has gained substantial ground once he had the opportunity to introduce himself to primary voters. The same can happen for Gov. Johnson once more people learn about his record as governor and where he stands on the issues.