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Gary Johnson Landed A Major Endorsement — But Is It Too Late?

The Commission on Presidential Debates will soon decide on which candidates will participate in the first debate.

By Stephanie Liebergen | September 15, 2016

Gary Johnson picked up a big newspaper endorsement, but is it too little, too late?

The New Hampshire Union Leader broke its 100-year-old tradition of supporting Republicans to endorse the Libertarian candidate. The endorsement came on Sept. 14 — just 12 days before the first scheduled presidential debate. 

SEE MORE: Full Interview: Newsy Sits Down With Libertarian Gary Johnson

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Why does that matter? Because any day now, the Commission on Presidential Debates will look at its five chosen polls to see which candidates are polling at 15 percent or more. And Gary Johnson isn't anywhere near that number. 

The Commission chose polls from five different media organizations that are regularly updated, and in those polls Johnson is somewhere between 7 and 10 percent

And he knows getting on that debate stage is crucial. 

SEE MORE: Newspapers Are Making Surprise Endorsements, But Do They Matter?

"No way that if you're running for president and you're not in the presidential debates — 100 million people watching the debates — there's no way that you could win," Johnson told Newsy.

Now Johnson's chances of landing on the debate stage aren't totally shot. The Commission will re-check the polling numbers between each presidential debate. So if Johnson can gain traction before debates No. 2 or 3 on Oct. 9 and 19, respectively, he could earn a spot next to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. 

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