Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson to visit Seattle

Professor at Seattle University states a Libertarian candidate may be favored in certain areas of the Pacific Northwest.

Presidential candidate and former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson will host a rally in Seattle later this month.

The Johnson/Weld campaign announced on their official website the rally will be held at the Sheraton Hotel on September 17th.

While details are still in the works, according to Kerry Welsh, a friend of the campaign, who is also helping to coordinate the visit.

Welsh said local celebrities will be involved with the event, including Nirvana guitarist Krist Novoselic, a supporter of the Libertarian ticket. Comedian Drew Carey, a part owner of the Seattle Sounders, will also be involved.

Carey hosted a fundraiser in Los Angeles last month for Johnson, who is a former Republican Governor of New Mexico.

Johnson’s running mate, Bill Weld, is a former Republican Governor of Massachusetts.

The Libertarian ticket will appear on Washington’s November ballot, after receiving enough signatures to qualify.

The Johnson, Weld campaign state chair, Justin Horrell, tells KING 5 a kickoff event was held on Thursday in Kirkland.

Horrell estimates the campaign has several hundred volunteers statewide. They will begin phonebanking and canvassing, with the immediate focus of boosting Johnson's name ID and polling numbers.

He must hit at least 15 percent in public polling to qualify for the upcoming presidential debates. A third party candidate hasn't been included on the debate stage since Ross Perot in 1992.

"It propels (the campaign), if you can perform well and get a message out there that people want, and it can also tank you," said Marco Lowe, who teaches elections and campaigning at Seattle University.

Lowe believes Johnson has a shot at getting into the debates, but not likely changing the outcome of the election.

"Strong libertarian candidates tend to hurt the Republican Party," said Lowe. "If Trump is already polling poorly, then the libertarians really can’t hurt him that much. If Trump and Clinton were much more neck and neck, then you could see an outcome change from that."

According to the Johnson campaign, target states include Nevada, Utah and Johnson's home state of New Mexico.

The Pacific Northwest is also a region with a strong libertarian bent.

"We have a plethora of technology companies here, and there is a culture particularly on the male side of the employee base that are attracted to Libertarians, and always have been, and the less government message works for them," said Lowe.

The rally is free and open to the public. More information can be found here.

Copyright 2016 KING


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