Posted by Jesse Shayne on September 10, 2016 at 9:33 AM
Schwarzenegger joins calls for Johnson to be included in presidential debates
Actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has joined calls for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson to be included in the upcoming debates, saying the country benefits from an open conversation.
"The American people want to hear the voices of Governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld in the debates this fall," Schwarzenegger said in a Facebook post. He cited a recent USA Today poll that indicated that as many as 76 percent of voters want third-party candidates to be included in the debates.
"Our political system benefits when we open the conversation instead of closing it, which is why I fought for and the voters passed Open Primaries in California and why I hope the Commission on Presidential Debates will listen to the people and include the Governors," Schwarzenegger said.
Schwarzenegger's call comes just two days after former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also called for Johnson and his running mate Bill Weld to be allowed to participate in the presidential debates.
The Commission on Presidential Debates - which is led by Republican and Democratic co-chairs - is in charge of organizing the debates and requires a third-party candidate to have at least 15 percent in selected polls to be allowed to participate.
Johnson is currently at an average of 9 percent nationally, but the former governor has seen increasing support in some states. A recent Washington Post-SurveyMonkey poll showed 25% for Johnson in his home state of New Mexico, 23% in Utah and 19% in Alaska, Idaho and South Dakota.
Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., the co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, told CNBC earlier this month that the commission would consider inviting a third-party candidate if his or her polling numbers are below 15% but close enough to be within the margin of error. At 9 percent, Johnson would not qualify.
Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said in an interview earlier this month that the 15 percent threshold should be lowered, saying it's too high.