The Gary Johnson Campaign

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Gary Johnson's goal to make it to the debates stage this fall with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump took a big leap forward on Monday, as his campaign blew past its one-day fundraising goal of $1.5 million and hauled in $1.7 million.

Johnson, the Libertarian presidential nominee and former Republican governor of New Mexico, intends to use the "money bomb" -- as his campaign organizers call it -- to finance television ads in several key states, according to U.S. News & World Report. Most of the cash came from small donors, demonstrating Johnson's grassroots strength. However, the Johnson campaign does not have the financial backing Ron Paul did back in December 2007, when the former Texas congressman
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On Monday, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced the five polls it will use to determine which candidates qualify: ABC News/Washington Post, CBS News/New York Times, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, and Fox News. UPI reports the CPD chose those polls at the urging of polling expert Dr. Frank Newport, who is the editor-in-chief at Gallup Inc.

In addition to reaching 15 percent in national polls, Gary Johnson and the other presidential nominees will have to meet the eligibility qualifications listed in the U.S. Constitution -- including being a U.S.-born American citizen and living in the U.S. for the last 14 or more years -- and have their name appear on enough state ballots to mathematically achieve the necessary 270 electoral votes to win the election.

On the state ballot front, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports Johnson received good news on Monday when Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted approved the state Libertarian Party's request to swap in Gary Johnson's name as an independent on the Ohio election ballot. The party submitted Charlie Earl as a placeholder candidate until county officials verify the 5,000 petition signatures required for Johnson to qualify for placement on the
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Silver, a statistical guru, points out that the five polls selected by the CPD are run by highly respected polling firms and -- most importantly -- "tend to show Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein doing a tad better" than in other polls. He notes that Johnson polls at an average of nearly 10 percent in the "fab five of polling" chosen by the debates panel, while the Libertarian polls at around 8 percent in non-commission polls.

Johnson, who describes himself as a social liberal and fiscal conservative, has until mid-September to get his poll numbers to 15 percent and qualify for the debates. UPI notes third-party candidates have only made it to the presidential debates podium twice since they began in 1960. John Anderson qualified in 1980, and Ross Perot made the leap in 1992. The first presidential debate will be held on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in New York.

Do you think Gary Johnson will make it to the podium for the U.S. presidential debates in September? Are this year's third-party candidates, Johnson and Jill Stein, more appealing to you than Hillary Clinton and Donald
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