Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson says he has reached one of his key objectives by raising more than $1.7 million with what his organizers called a "money bomb" Monday.
Johnson says he exceeded his announced goal of collecting $1.5 million, mostly within a 24-hour period. This should be enough to fund television ads in key states, strengthen Johnson's organization and to some extent demonstrate that he has grassroots appeal. Most of his contributions were from small donors, Johnson advisers say. He hopes to create enough momentum to get into the main presidential debates this fall.
While the total was solid, it fell short of past fundraising successes by former Libertarian candidate Ron Paul, such as when Paul raised $6 million during a 24-hour period in December 2007.
The Commission on Presidential Debates is sponsoring three debates in September and October. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump are guaranteed spots since they are both polling well above the 15 percent threshold that the commission has set for participation. Other candidates can qualify if they reach or exceed 15 percent in national polls. Johnson recently told U.S. News that the only way he can win the presidency is to get into the debates.
The commission has announced that the polls which will be used to determine who is in the debates will be those by ABC News/Washington Post, CBS News/New York Times, CNN, Fox News and NBC News/Wall Street Journal – five respected polling operations.
Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico, gets nearly 10 percent in an average of the most recent commission-approved polls while Green Party candidate Jill Stein gets about 4.5 percent, according to fivethirtyeight.com. a political web site.
The final calculation determining who qualifies for the initial debate won't be made until mid-September. The first debate is scheduled for Sept. 26.
Johnson describes himself as conservative on fiscal issues, liberal on social issues and non-interventionist in foreign policy.
See Johnson through his political career:
Gary Johnson through the years
Gary Johnson through the years
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)