Gary Johnson Invited To 9/22 Fox News/Google Debateby Doug Mataconis
For the first time in four months, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson will get to participate in a nationally televised Republican debate:
Gary Johnson, the Republican presidential candidate who has labored in obscurity, is about to get his moment in the spotlight—for one night, at least.
Johnson will be included in Thursday’s Fox News debate in Orlando, the first time he will share a stage with his eight rivals—over the objections of the Florida Republican Party.
The former New Mexico governor won the right to participate, according to Fox sources, by cracking 1 percent in the latest five national polls in which he was included—Fox News, CNN, McClatchy-Marist, ABC, and Quinnipiac—which was the criterion the network had set for inclusion.
Johnson is a quirky character, a libertarian who wants to legalize marijuana and is opposed to a border fence to stop illegal immigration. But he has attracted a passionate if tiny following while mostly flying below the media’s radar.
With nine people on the stage tomorrow night, it will be hard for Johnson to get a lot of air time in, especially since the debate moderators are likely to repeat the practice we’ve seen in the past two debates of concentrating mostly on Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, who are far ahead of the rest of the field at the moment. Nonetheless, it’s an opportunity for Johnson, who has as much Executive experience as Jon Huntsman and more than Mitt Romney, to introduce himself to voters, and he’ll provide an interesting contrast to Ron Paul on the libertarian side.
The debate airs Thursday night on Fox News Channel beginning at 9pm Eastern time. Since Google is involved, there is also an opportunity for viewers to submit questions via YouTube.