The presidential debate commission made it official Friday: Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson will not be invited to the first presidential debate in ten days.
In announcing that it invited only Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to the Sept. 26 event, the non-partisan, non-profit Commission on Presidential Debates said it "applied its Nonpartisan Candidate Selection Criteria" — polling requirements that left out Johnson.
Candidates were required to reach 15% support in a selection of national polls to qualify, which means the Green Party's Jill Stein also failed to win an invitation. According to the polls averaged by the commission, Johnson had 8.4% backing, while Stein had 3.2%.
So Clinton and Trump will face off by themselves on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University on Long Island in New York.
The announcement also means that William Weld, the Libertarian vice presidential nominee, will not participate in an Oct. 4 debate involving Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence.
Johnson said the decision did not surprise him, and added that the commission is a tool of the major parties.
"After all," he said, "the Commission is a private organization created 30 years ago by the Republican and Democratic parties for the clear purpose of taking control of the only nationally-televised presidential debates voters will see."
The former New Mexico governor added that the commission "may scoff at a ticket that enjoys ‘only’ 9 or 10% in their hand-selected polls, but even 9% represents 13 million voters, more than the total population of Ohio and most other states."
The commission will evaluate polls again ahead of the second and third presidential debates in October.
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