America is about to have a 3rd-party nominee: Gary Johnson

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America Is About to Have a Third-Party Nominee: Gary Johnson

This Memorial Day weekend, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is expected to become the Libertarian Party's nominee for president -- and Johnson's clinching of the nomination might have a bigger effect than you think.

"The Libertarian Party is gonna be on the ballot in all 50 states. If I'm the Libertarian Party nominee, I hope to be, I'm going to be the only third party on the ballot in all 50 states," Johnson said on ABC's "This Week."

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Johnson served two terms as governor of New Mexico and left office in 2003.

PHOTOS: Gary Johnson through the years

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America is about to have a 3rd-party nominee: Gary Johnson
UNITED STATES - MARCH 3: Gov. Gary Johnson, former Governor of NM, speaks at the American Conservative Union's CPAC conference at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday, March 3, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson pretends to have a heart attack on stage while arguing in favor of legalization of marijuana during CPAC in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2015. Former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., not pictured, had just argued during their debate that marijuana caused an increased risk of heart attacks. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in the Fox News/Google GOP Debate at the Orange County Convention Center on September 22, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. The debate featured the nine Republican candidates two days before the Florida straw poll. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
File-This Nov. 3, 2011 file photo shows former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson addressing the 2011 Drug Policy Alliance conference in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, July 1, 2014 it was announced that Johnson had been named the CEO of a Nevada-based company that hopes to make medical and recreational marijuana products. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for president, addresses an audience of students and the public at Macalester College, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 in St. Paul, Minn. Johnson, a former two-term New Mexico governor, is on a nationwide college tour as part of his campaign for president. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Republican presidential candidates, from left, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, prepare prior to a debate Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
FILE - In this Sept 23, 2011 file-pool photo, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in Orlando, Fla. The Libertarian Johnson is running for president a second time after winning more than a million votes in 2012. (AP Photo/Joe Burbank, Pool, File)
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson announces his plans to seek the Republican nomination for president in front of the Statehouse Thursday, April 21, 2011 in Concord, N.H. Gov. Johnson says he has the resume needed to lead the country. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, shown at the Inn of Loretto, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 1999, in Santa Fe, N.M. Insurance companies that back a ``no pay, no play'' proposal, promoted by Gov. Gary Johnson, say they would save money if uninsured drivers were barred from making big claims. Under the legislation, insurance companies would be required to file new rates taking into account their anticipated savings from the new law in August. (AP Photo/Laura Husar)
Texas Gov. George W. Bush, left, makes a joke about the first time he met New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, right, as he addresses a crowd at a barbecue June 19, 1998, in support of Johnson's re-election campaign in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf)
New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson enters the Roswell Convention Center Thursday, July 3, 1997 surrounded by aliens. The governor and his family visited Roswell to participate in the 50th anniversary celebration of eth Roswell incident.(AP Photo/Susan Sterner)
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This is Johnson's second presidential run after being on the Libertarian ticket in 2012. He got over 1.2 million votes -- less than 1 percent of the total popular vote.

As for which current presidential candidate Johnson could pull voters from? According to an online political quiz, he says he's most like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

"I side with myself 99 percent of the time, but then the next politician that I most align with is Bernie Sanders at 73 percent," Johnson explained on MSNBC.

Registration for the Libertarian Party is up, and so is its fundraising. And it seems a lot of that steam is going to Johnson. In a recent Fox News poll, 10 percent of people said they'd vote for Johnson if it were him, Clinton and Trump on the ballot.

One way he could raise his political profile is on the debate stage. To get a spot, he needs to be: Constitutionally eligible (check), on the ballot in most states (check) -- and polling at 15 percent. That's what he's missing right now.

The Commission on Presidential Debates will determine the qualified candidates after Labor Day -- so Johnson has a little over three months to drum up more support in the hopes of landing on the debate stage alongside the Democratic and Republican nominees.

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