Gary Johnson asks DC federal court to intervene in 3rd presidential debate

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson’s campaign has filed a complaint in Federal Court in the District of Columbia, maintaining that Johnson has met the Commission on Presidential Debate’s criteria for inclusion in Monday night’s debate.

The complaint (read it here) asks the Court to compel the commission to include Johnson.

When the Libertarian candidate is included in head-to-head surveys with Democratic nominee, Barack Obama (and Republican Mitt Romney is excluded), Johnson meets the 15 percent threshold for debate participation. According to Johnson campaign counsel Alicia Dearn, that matchup should be “equally valid” in determining the criteria for participation in the debates:

“As a two-term governor who is on more than enough states’ ballots to be elected in the Electoral College, the decision to exclude Governor Johnson can only be based upon the CPD’s self-determined polling criterion – using polls that are ‘head-to-head’ surveys between Romney and Obama,” Dearn says.  “Who decided that?”

“The CPD requirements say Johnson ‘must register support of at least 15% of the vote in five recent polls’,” Dearn said in a statement. “Nowhere does it say those polls must include three candidates. Indeed, the polls used by the CPD to exclude Johnson test only two candidates even though Gov. Johnson is on the ballot in 48 states. We argue that Gov. Johnson has met the specific and narrow criteria laid out by the CPD.”

During a recent conversation with Johnson adviser (and Daily Caller Fashion Correspondent) Roger Stone, the celebrated Republican strategist noted the Commission on Presidential Debates is, “neither a commission, nor is it appointed by the president, nor is it about open debate.”

Johnson is clearly a national candidate. He’s on the ballot in 48 states — only Michigan and Oklahoma are currently excluding him from their ballots — and just this week, he scored a front-page New York Times story.

As such, Johnson’s exclusion from the debates — along with efforts to keep him off the ballot — has been a bone of contention. The Republican Party understandably worries that Johnson could play spoiler — and not being one who is afraid to throw elbows — Stone mocked RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, calling him “Reince Penis.” (He also took a swipe at his friends, the gay Republican group GOProud, saying their endorsement for Romney is like a “Jews for Hitler Committee.”)

It seems like a long shot, but Stone has pulled off magic before. There is at least a chance Monday night’s debate may now have an interesting twist.

“Two debates have already happened, and have excluded Governor Johnson,” Dearn laments in a written statement. “We can’t change that – no matter how unfair. However, the CPD has one last opportunity to do the right thing for Monday night’s debate, which we have asked them to do via a letter transmitted Thursday.”

Listen to my full conversation with Johnson adviser Roger Stone here.

Read Johnson’s Complaint Against Commission on Presidential Debates