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Johnson Campaign: Debate Sponsors Picking Winners

June 4, 2011Posted in Blog, Gov. Gary Johnson, New Hampshire

June 4, 2011, Santa Fe, NM - A senior advisor to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign said Saturday that Governor Johnson’s exclusion from a June 13 New Hampshire primary debate is “unacceptable” and the result of criteria that “picks winners and losers” seven months before the first presidential primary votes are cast.  In a statement, the advisor, Ron Nielson, said:

“Since it was announced that Governor Gary Johnson has been excluded from the June 13 Republican presidential primary debate in New Hampshire, we have heard from people all across the county who are either bewildered, angry – or both, by the debate sponsors’ decision.

“As Governor Johnson has said, his exclusion denies a voice at the debate for a substantial slice of the Republican Party, those who share his undiluted view of personal liberty and real fiscal restraint.

“While we have had no specific explanation from the debate sponsors, it appears that Gary Johnson’s exclusion was based on some mysterious polling arithmetic.  Whatever that arithmetic was, the differences that excluded us while producing invitations for several other less-known candidates would certainly fall within the margin of error of any poll.  CNN didn’t even include Governor Johnson in some of their own April polls, yet we suspect they used those polls in their math.  That makes no sense whatsoever.

“More importantly, at this early stage of the campaign, it is a simple reality that polling numbers are almost entirely a product of name ID, money, and decisions by the media, including the debate sponsors, to cover some candidates more than others.   That a successful two-term governor with an unmatched record for cutting spending and advocating real freedom who is a declared candidate for president is barred from a critical debate on the basis of fractions of percentage points seven months before the first votes are cast is unacceptable.

“If we are going to focus on polls, we should be looking at the ones showing that many, many Republican and potential Republican primary voters are not satisfied with the field of candidates.  That won’t change if those voters are denied the opportunity to see who and what their options really are – the opportunity a debate is supposed to provide.   By excluding a candidate like Gary Johnson with polling that is largely irrelevant at this stage, the debate sponsors are doing just the opposite – they are picking winners and losers seven months before the election.”

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