Libertarian Gary Johnson bags money haul

Could Gary Johnson Appear on Main Debate Stage?

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.

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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 a political web site.

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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
See Gallery
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)

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