Gary Johnson campaigns at Canterbury Park

Gary Johnson campaigning in Minnesota

SHAKOPEE, Minn. -- With less than two weeks to go in the presidential election, Gov. Gary Johnson is hoping to gain more support in Minnesota.

Thursday night, the Libertarian presidential candidate held a rally at Canterbury Park in Shakopee.

"At the end of the day on your death bed, did you really do everything that you could do to maybe make things better in the world? And I'm going to be able to say, 'Yeah, I did,'" Johnson said, in an interview with KARE 11.

Despite the fact that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the two most unpopular presidential candidates in polling dating back more than 30 years, a third-party candidate has not come close to rivaling either in the polls.

"It's still very difficult for third-party candidates to break through. Part of it is the fact that the labels of the political parties, Democrat and Republicans, have enormous power over voters," said Larry Jacobs, a political science professor with the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Jacobs also mentioned the challenge of third-party candidates gaining exposure when not reaching the 15 percent threshold needed to take part in the presidential debates.

Johnson touched on that during his rally in Minnesota and told KARE 11, "Being on the ballot in all 50 states, to me, warrants inclusion in the debates."

Jacobs said there has been enormous interest this year in third-party candidates like Johnson and Jill Stein for the Green Party. But Johnson's polling numbers have slipped from a nearly 10 percent polling average in September to about 5.6 percent.

"Neither Johnson nor Stein are going to win this election but they could have a huge impact on some of the states that are very close," Jacobs said, referencing how influential Ralph Nader was in 2000 for drawing away Democratic votes from Al Gore and helping George W. Bush secure a victory.

"Johnson may actually Nader Donald Trump. Meaning that he's going to draw away Republican votes that would otherwise have gone to Trump and allow Hillary Clinton to sneak in. We may see this in Florida which looks very close," Jacobs said.

In Minnesota, if either Johnson or Stein get 5 percent or more of the popular vote it means a guaranteed spot on the ballot for their party for two more general elections.

"Libertarian candidates in presidential elections have rarely received more than 1 percent of the vote. If the Johnson/Weld ticket were to receive 4 percent or 5 percent that would be a historic accomplishment," Jacobs said.

Independent Evan McMullin is another candidate gaining attention. He made the ballot in Minnesota and in 10 other states. Stein is on the ballot in 45 states, while Johnson is the only third-party candidate on the ballot in all 50 states.


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