East County News Service
September 19, 2016 (San Diego) -- Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton will face off on September 26th at 6 p.m.Pacific Standard Time in the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York. Lester Holt from NBC news will be the moderator.
But third party candidates won’t be included, because none averaged 15% or more in at least five national polls—the threshold set by debate organizers.
Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson calls the debate a “rigged game.” He is polling nationally at about 8% but reached 14% in a recent Washington Post poll.
Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who is polling at 3.2%, has launched a petition calling for debates to be opened up to all candidates who qualified for the ballot in enough states to be a choice for a majority of voters. She says she will be outside the debate location with hundreds of her supporters.
Clinton polled at 43% and Trump at 40% when the debate deadline arrived.
The decision also means that only the two major party vice presidents, Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, will participate in an Oct. 4 vice presidential debate.
The door is still theoretically open for minor party candidates to be included in additional debates scheduled—but only if Johnson or Stein can reach the 15% polling threshold soon.