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Gary Johnson Invited to Florida Debate

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson is set to participate in Thursday’s Republican debate in Florida after clearing the 1% hurdle in recent polls, according to The Daily Beast‘s Howard Kurtz:

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.

Kurtz speculates that Johnson’s inclusion may “help the top two candidates, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, by diluting the airtime available to the other contenders”; however, it’s also possible that Johnson will provide a more mainstream libertarian counterpart (at least in messaging, if not substance) to Ron Paul’s quirky mix of economic laissez-faire and social Darwinism, not to mention an alternative to the other, mostly social conservative, dwarves sharing the stage.

If nothing else, Republicans are likely to benefit from having another candidate with serious political credentials cutting into the airtime of pizza empresario Herman Cain.

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About Chris Lawrence
Chris teaches political science at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. He has a Ph.D. in political science (American politics and political methodology) from the University of Mississippi.

Comments

  1. I will be interested to see how it goes for him.

    (Love the tag line, btw).

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  2. James Joyner says:

    I understand the need to weed the yahoos out and keep the debates to a manageable size. Poll numbers are a useful method for doing that, but also self-fulfilling. Why not a rule that anyone who has held the office of Vice President, US Senator, or governor in the past decade and is a declared candidate is eligible until, say, after New Hampshire?

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  3. Hey Dick (formerly Hey Norm) says:

    I’m pretty sure this will assuage all the concerns of the Republican Establishment over the strength of the field.

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  4. Rick DeMent says:

    Why not a rule that anyone who has held the office of Vice President, US Senator, or governor in the past decade and is a declared candidate is eligible until, say, after New Hampshire?

    Heh sounds like golf, you get an exemption for the above, if you have won a primary in the last two years, survived an interview with Chris Matthew, or are in the top 100 on the money list. Other then that yuo have to qualify though “P” school.

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  5. gVOR08 says:

    Did they lose anyone else? I hope not. As a phrase, “Romney, Perry, and the seven dwarfs” sounds better than “six dwarfs”.

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