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Libertarian Ticket Buys TV Time In Northwest To Boost Presidential Debate Prospects

Campaign photo
Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, right, and running mate William Weld, are launching campaign ads in the Northwest.

Neither Oregon nor Washington are presidential election battleground states, so the region's TV viewers have been spared the attendant barrage of campaign commercials. But now the Libertarian presidential ticket is going on the air.

In their first TV ad to air locally, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson and running mate William Weld look directly into the camera as they introduce themselves.

"The difference between the two of us and the other candidates running for president is that we've been there,” Johnson says in the ad.

“And done that,” Weld adds.


In a statement, the Johnson-Weld campaign said its prime objective is to increase awareness of the former governors and propel them upward in the polls. Johnson needs to garner 15 percent support or better in an average of national polls to qualify for the upcoming presidential debates.

Standing on stage alongside Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is crucial to the Libertarian campaign plan. They have just a few weeks to cross the magic threshold before the first nationally-televised debate on September 26.

The Johnson for President TV ad buy overlaps closely with the states proving most receptive to his third-party candidacy. A 50-state poll released by the Washington Post and SurveyMonkey earlier this week presented the presidential campaign as a two-way and a four-way race. In the four-way contest, survey respondents could choose Clinton, Trump, Johnson or Green Party nominee Jill Stein.

Johnson registered at 15 percent in Washington state, 11 percent in Oregon and 19 percent in Idaho.

Overall, Johnson polled most strongly in the West, topping out at 25 percent in his home state of New Mexico and at 23 percent in Utah. The campaign has also reserved TV ad time in those southwestern states along with Nevada, Colorado and New Hampshire according to a Bloomberg report quoting Kantar Media/CMAG.

Johnson is scheduled to campaign in person in Seattle next week. He has scheduled a public rally on Saturday afternoon, September 17, at the downtown Seattle Sheraton Hotel.

Both Johnson and Weld are former two-term Republican governors -- Johnson of New Mexico and Weld of Massachusetts.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.