Gary Johnson not invited to New Hampshire GOP debate
Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson was not invited to the first New Hampshire debate of the Republican primary on June 13. The debate, sponsored by CNN, WMUR and the New Hampshire Union Leader, does however include Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who has not yet announced her candidacy for president.
Johnson did not meet the criteria for participating in the debate. The criteria were based on opinion polling done both nationally and in New Hampshire. The candidates could either reach 2 percent in national polls conducted in April or May or at least two percent in New Hampshire polls conducted in May.
“I respect the right of CNN and the other sponsors of the June 13 New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate to apply their own criteria and invite who they choose,” Johnson said in a statement Friday. “It is, however, unfortunate that a significant segment of the Republican Party, and more importantly, millions of independent voters who might be Republican voters, will not have a voice on the stage in Manchester.”
In addition to Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will participate in the debate.
Other candidates and potential candidates were invited but declined to attend. These include Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and businessman Donald Trump. All have said in recent weeks that they will not seek the presidency in 2012.
Also invited, but declining to attend, are former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Many believed that Johnson’s presidential chances — already slim — took a large hit when Paul entered the race. Both hold similar libertarian positions but Paul already has national infrastructure in place from previous presidential runs.
Johnson participated in a May 5 debate in South Carolina.