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Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson sets fundraising milestone among third-party candidates

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson set a new milestone in August among third-party candidates, becoming the first to raise $5 million in a single month dating back to at least 1996, the Wall Street Journal reported. Digital campaign finance records aren’t accessible before that year.

The former New Mexico governor, whose 8.4 percent polling average puts him well short of the 15 percent requirement to participate in the presidential debates. Still, he’s on track to be one of the strongest third-party candidates in the last few presidential cycles.  He has qualified for the ballot in all 50 states plus Washington. D.C., and has raised millions for his campaign.

“With a majority of Americans wanting a choice other than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, today we now know for certain that on Election Day, every voter in America will have that alternative option,” a campaign press release said. 

Campaign efforts to position the Johnson ticket as a viable third option among those who are unsatisfied by the mainstream candidates gained new momentum in August, as shown by its successful fundraising push. In the first two weeks of August alone, the Johnson campaign raised more than half of the $5 million that was collected for that month.

The fundraising success follows a few setbacks for the 63-year-old. In August, a federal agency that manages U.S. government real estate denied Johnson the resources to begin planning a presidential transition process. More recently, he suffered some embarrassment after failing to recognize the name of the Syrian city of Aleppo--the epicenter of the refugee crisis-- in a television interview.

But any attention may turn out to be good attention -- Johnson told Bloomberg Live Wednesday that his biggest fundraising day was the day of his Aleppo gaffe, and he also raised a lot of campaign cash on the day he was informed by the debate commission that he did not qualify for the first presidential debate, which takes place Monday in New York.

  • Julia Boccagno

    Julia Boccagno is a news associate for CBS News.