Presidential races

Presidential debate sites prep for possible third lectern: report

The three venues slated to host the presidential debates starting next month are reportedly preparing for the possibility that more than two candidates will appear on stage.

The news comes as Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson pushes to secure the 15 percent in polls necessary to appear on stage with Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

{mosads}“With Gary Johnson polling in some places more than double digits, they might have, some of our production people may have said, ‘Just in case, you need to plan out what that might look like,’” Commission on Presidential Debates co-chairman Mike McCurry told Politico. “We won’t know the number of invitations we extend until mid-September.”

“There SHOULD be a 3rd podium on the stage,” Johnson tweeted Tuesday, linking to the newspaper’s report.

To appear on the debate stage, candidates must appear on enough state ballots to have a chance at winning 270 electoral votes and have at least 15 percent support in five recent national public polls, according to criteria the commission adopted last year.

Johnson has 8.8 percent support in a three-way match-up with Clinton and Trump in the RealClearPolitics index of national polls. He has a similar level of support in a four-way match-up that includes Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Another candidate, conservative Evan McMullin, launched an independent presidential bid Monday.

Johnson took 10 percent support in a four-way NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday that found Stein at 4 percent.

Trump last month floated opposition to the debate schedule, which was announced in September of last year, though the commission has signaled it doesn’t plan to change any dates. For its part, Clinton’s campaign said Monday that she plans to appear in the three debates as scheduled.

“The only issue now is whether Donald Trump is going to show up to debate at the date, times, places and formats set by the commission last year through a bipartisan process,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said. “We will accept the commission’s invitation and expect Donald Trump to do the same.”

The debates are scheduled for Sept. 26 at New York’s Hofstra University, Oct. 9 at St. Louis’s Washington University and Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Tags 2016 presidential debates 2016 presidential election Donald Trump Gary Johnson Hillary Clinton

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