No third-party candidates at first debate

Trump, Clinton battle it out in 2016's new social media landscape. (AP file)
Trump, Clinton battle it out in 2016's new social media landscape. (AP file)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be the only two candidates at the first presidential debate.

The commission overseeing the debates invited the two major-party candidates to its Sept. 26 event on Friday. Libertarian party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein did not get invited.

The commission said the two third-party candidates didn’t register enough support in polls to qualify. The commission has set a 15 percent threshold. Johnson averaged 8.4 percent in the polls the commission considered, and Stein 3.2 percent.

The third-party candidates could qualify for either of the final two debates in October if their polling average clears 15 percent then. But by missing out on the initial debate, they are losing their best chance to gain the attention needed to achieve that. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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