After the the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Friday that no third-party candidates qualified for the first presidential debate, conservative independent candidate Evan McMullin challenged Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein to join him for their own.
The commission requires candidates to be polling at least 15 percent in several major national polls in order to earn a podium on the debate stage.
“The debates are a rigged game,” McMullin tweeted to his rivals. “Let's have our own.”
McMullin’s campaign also started a petition to encourage his fellow third-party candidates to join him in a debate:
The Commission on Presidential Debates is not an honest broker, and it doesn’t serve the public interest. It exists to protect Hillary and Trump — not to look out for the American people. Nearly two-thirds of Americans hold unfavorable views of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And when the media present them with alternative voices, hundreds of thousands of them tune in to listen.
In a statement regarding the commission's announcement, Johnson said, “There are more polls and more debates, and we plan to be on the debate stage in October.”
— Gov. Gary Johnson (@GovGaryJohnson) September 16, 2016
Stein tweeted that the debates are “rigged”:
Dem elites rigged primary for candidate polling worse against Trump; now looking for scapegoats if HRC loses. Will DNC take responsibility?— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) September 16, 2016
McMullin launched an unconventional bid for president last month in order to act as an alternative for conservatives dissatisfied with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s candidacy.
Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are scheduled to debate Sept. 26.
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