Gary Johnson raises money for debate

Libertarian Presidential nominee Gary Johnson is still struggling to get his name on the polls, so in an effort to garner more media attention, Johnson started a new money bomb with the goal of getting $10,000 for every percent needed to get into the debates, $150,000 in total. State polls show him with roughly 6-9%, but Johnson hopes that can change after his continued success at achieving ballot access and changing his focus towards getting more votes.

Johnson may be able to solve that dilemma on the local level. Smaller media outlets are more apt to include Johnson in their polls when they see actual Johnson campaign volunteers active in their own town or neighborhood. Once the smaller polls show Johnson at 15 percent, and that becomes news in its own right, the national press and the major market media players will have no choice but to include Johnson in their own polls. Like Perot however, they probably won’t include Johnson until after he begins registering 15%.

The good news for Gary Johnson supporters is that the Libertarian Presidential candidate already appears to be edging closer and closer to that coveted 15 percent level of support. Some polls show him registering as high as 9 percent at this early stage of the campaign. And now that his thousands of volunteers can switch from petition-circulating to actual campaigning, Johnson appears right on schedule to hit 15 percent in time to qualify for the nationally televised debates. The debates, the campaign hopes, will catapult Gary Johnson onto equal footing with the other two Presidential candidates.

Read the rest of the article at Examiner: Gary Johnson moves onto debate phase of campaign

The moneybomb started when Ron Nielson, Senior Advisor to the Gary Johnson campaign released a letter to his supporters.

The two-party establishment doesn’t want Gov. Gary Johnson in the debates for one simple reason: They don’t really want to have debates. They don’t really want to give a national microphone to a candidate who will challenge business-as-usual. And if they succeed in keeping Gov. Johnson off the stage, they will get exactly what they want.

What they want is a “debate” between two candidates who will argue over which government health care program is better, Obamacare or Romneycare. They don’t want to hear from a candidate who will actually scrap the job-killing tax code. What they want is a Republican and a Democrat who will just quibble about how to tinker with the existing system that lets them hand out subsidies and benefits to their friends.

Read the rest of the letter at Let’s Put Gov. Gary Johnson On The National Debate Stage!

Gary Johnson is a entrepreneur and former Governor of New Mexico. He ran for President as a Republican, but dropped out to join the Libertarian Party, and became their nominee in May.

You can visit his website at www.garyjohnson2012.com

46 thoughts on “Gary Johnson raises money for debate

  1. just saying

    This title is inaccurate since there is no indication the money spent will be used to get Gov. Johnson in the debate. The only strategic point mentioned to help Johnson get in the debates is “volunteers,” which don’t cost money.

    (Previous reports in the comments on IPR indicate all the money is going to pay off past due consultant bills, NOT advertising.)

    An accurate headline would be “Gov. Johnson’s latest fundraising gimmick pegged to debate entry standards”

  2. Richie

    Does anybody have documented proof that the money from this fundraiser will go directly towards campaign debt? I suspect this is just rhetoric, but I will stand corrected on it. I thought federal matching funds were covering his debt.

  3. paulie

    It’s not going to the debt. The debt won’t be dealt with until much later when the campaign has, they hope, a lot more money. Right now they are trying to build themselves to that stage and it is also they hope going to help get Johnson in the debates. I’m not very optimistic on that but the more the campaign builds the less extremely improbable it becomes. In some ways having a goal to pump people up is good although I’m worried about the letdown.

    Bydlak debt is a separate issue, Nielson debt is not covered by the matching funds but it is not due yet either. As Joe described there are campaign activities going on every day so it’s not true that the money is going to debt right now.

  4. zapper

    The Johnson campaign has not responded publicly or directly to the issue of the campaign debt and where currently raised funds will go.

    Of course the campaign needs to keep operating, so some funds will go to maintain the office, pay phone bills, electric bills etc.

    But it’s also quite likely that as funds are raised, a portion, perhaps a significant portion will be set aside or paid out against the old debt, which from reports by George Phillies appear to be $700,000 plus for the Johnson campaign and $1.8 million plus for Johnson’s PAC.

    Posts have been made asking for details.

    Posts have been made asking for promises to pledge current fundraising to be used for current and future campaigning and not for debt.

    The response so far …

    … crickets …

    The silence is deafening.

  5. Reed E

    Okay, honestly, does it really matter? At the end of the day, the debt will get paid off one way or another. Your money will help whether it goes toward the campaign’s debt or not. If it doesn’t go to the debt, then somebody else’s money will. The more money the campaign gets, the sooner it can pay down debt and focus everything on campaigning.

  6. paulie

    It’s going to office rent, utilities, staff salaries, some travel expenses, supplies, equipment.

    Their expectation is that the campaign will become much bigger than it is now, so what they have now is just seed money.

    I don’t believe they are setting aside any of the seed money for debt. What they are betting on is that a much bigger campaign will take off, and in the end the debt will be a minor matter because there will be multiple millions to be spent.

    We shall see.

  7. zapper

    More interesting is that this fundraising effort talks about the benefits of targeting smaller media outlets, hints using media leverage to pry up greater media coverage and getting up to 15% …

    This sounds good if the money were going to buy targeted major network TV ads … that could generate the media effect, and result in much greater fundraising in the future …

    But this fundraiser only promises volunteer activity. There is no mention of where the $150,00o will go.

    The National LP and the State LPs are paying for ballot drives.

    The Johsnon campaign is not advertising.

    They are promising to use volunteers to generate a media presence through earned media.

    Where will the money go?

    … shhh … you can hear it …

    the grass rippling in a gentle breeze …
    a butterfly flitting against the zepher …
    a single rose petal as it hits wet earth …
    the flickering light of a single firefly …

    But, from the Johnson campaign,
    on the subject of the debt …
    The silence is so profound…

    that these sounds …

    Traveling through the void
    of space
    and
    time …

    From a planet thousands of lightyears away …

    Have overwhelmed the silence …

  8. paulie

    It’s going to office rent, utilities, staff salaries, some travel expenses, supplies, equipment.

    Not really a mystery.

  9. zapper

    @12 We have no word from the Johnson campaign as to where the money is actually going. Sure, some of it is going to mundane operating expenses. But what of the rest.

    Why no response?

    Why no promises?

    When there’s no way to package truth to make it attractive despite the smell of rot that it reveals, then it’s best to shut up and evade or ignore the question.

  10. George Phillies

    @9 This is the same line that was used by the Badnarik Congressional campaign. It didn’t work then, and the Badnarik people in 2006 at least had the rational explanation that no one had ever done what Badnarik was doing.

    A reasonable guess is that a Libertarian Presidential campaign post-nomination will raise 1-1.5 or perhaps 2 million dollars.

    1 million – rough tie with Browne 2000 POST-NOMINATION or with Badnarik 2004.

    1.5 million – Barr range.

    2 million -wild optimism

    May fundraising implies something rather smaller.

    @8 I do not know if Johnson 2012 is covering the debts of OAI to Nielson’s company. If it is not, much of the campaign fundraising now to November may be obligated to cover pre-nomination debts. If it does, every penny raised by the campaign will be less than the Johnson-related debts that were attested to during the first Bydlak suit.

  11. zapper

    To follow up on Reed E @8 … Does it really matter?

    Yes it does.

    It is NOT true that in the end the campaign debt will get paid off one way or another. It may never be paid.

    Many campaigns have debt that never gets retired. There are Kennedy campaign debts still floating around from the 1960s and before that will never be paid. Barr has debt that may never be paid etc.

    That means that it is better that my money as well as other people’s money does not go toward the debt at all. This is especially true for the Johnson debt – this is Republican campaign debt.

    It would be better to see all the donations go toward ballot drives and advertising and other real political activity… although a small, reasonable amount is needed for overhead … overhead IMO should never be allowed to exceed 1/3 of the funds raised (and preferably even less) – for a campaign, LNC, state party org etc.

    Money should be allocated and spent FIRST for advertising and promotion, SECOND for ballot access, and overhead should be kept minimal.

    Bad management or more likely, self interested management, has seen to payment of overpriced contractors first which has caused the campaign to incur overwhelming, disabling debt.

    As a result, and due to the lack of a renegotiated agreement with the overpaid contractors to allow the debt to be reduced and compartmentalized so that new funds could actually fund what should have been a new, debt free, Libertarian POTUS campaign …

    It is better that NO ONE contribute directly to the Johnson campaign.

    The LNC, at its meeting this weekend, needs to set up TWO 100% guaranteed, audited accounts to allow donors to donate to segregated funds that will promise to use 100% of the funds raised:

    (1) for Major Network TV advertising and
    (2) for Ballot Access.

  12. Reed Ebarb

    @15 First off, I would encourage you to get up and do your research if you want things to change. Call the Johnson campaign and talk to the Finance director if you really want to know. The Johnson campaign is going to spend its money as it sees best. Its not like its a group of idiots at the HQ, they are going to find the best way to spend the money and if they can avoid paying debt for now, my guess is thats what they will do. Sometimes, you give money and have to put faith in the people running the campaign to spend it wisely. Besides, my money is probably better with them. Otherwise, I would be eating lunch at Burger King right now anyway. We pay Burger King all the time and don’t demand to know where their money goes. If you really want to know where the campaign’s money is going so bad, get on the FEC site and look it up. See where his money is going, who is getting paid for what, and where the debt is.

  13. Paulie

    zapper

    The debt is to the campaign manager’s company. Separate from the Bydlak lawsuit.

    If the debt ends up being unpaid that means Nielson took a gamble and lost.

    For right now they are not raising enough money to pay down the debt and function even minimally with a small staff and office, and keep Johnson on the road, so my somewhat educated guess is that they are not paying down the debt right now but waiting for money to come in larger amounts later to pay it.

    It’s even possible that Neilson is having the campaign go deeper into debt to his company by funding operations himself above and beyond what they are raising at the moment.

    It’s hard to tell from the FEC reports because they don’t itemize detail.

    I don’t think that contributions to the campaign are being ill spent right now, but additional superpacs may be good. I don’t think Wes has done as much with his as he could and Stone talked about setting one up but, as far as I know, has not done so, at least yet.

  14. Paulie

    The LNC, at its meeting this weekend, needs to set up TWO 100% guaranteed, audited accounts to allow donors to donate to segregated funds that will promise to use 100% of the funds raised:

    (1) for Network TV advertising and
    (2) for Ballot Access.

    As an alternate, I can’t introduce motions. If you can write up motion(s) I can try to find voting members to introduce them.

  15. just saying

    @16 — I can’t even remember the last time I ate at Burger King. It’s been years.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp

    The Johnson campaign is in a bad spot insofar as its actual and prospective encumbrances give some donors pause — why send $100 to campaign with if there’s no guarantee the money won’t end up just going to past debt instead of into real campaign activity? And there’s no way the campaign CAN guarantee that, because it won’t necessarily be a matter of choice.

    On the other hand, if you don’t send that $100, it’s absolutely, positively GUARANTEED that it won’t go into campaign activity, because they won’t have it. Which sucks if you think that it’s important for Johnson to be able to campaign.

    You pays your money and you takes your chances.

    Zapper’s ideas about having the LNC get more active on the campaign end make sense.

  17. Stewart Flood

    That isn’t exactly true. Any alternate who has a motion to introduce may either have his or her representative introduce, either by mail ballot or at the meeting.

    In addition, during the meeting an alternate may also ask his or her representative to allow the alternate to have the position at the table in order to introduce and speak to a motion.

    This does not happen at every meeting, but I have seen it happen (and have allowed alternates to take the table for a motion) a number of times.

  18. ATBAFT

    It’s now been over two months since I gave business cards to two of his managers in Vegas and offered to help set up a swing through my state. Haven’t heard a word from them. So I guess GJ isn’t going to swing around the country helping state LPs get enthusiastic, raise funds for their local races, and build a stronger party around the attraction of the best prez candidate ever. Since GJ won’t win, what’s the point of the campaign if not to build the party? So, we get an ad or two on network tv (not really likely) – it will be lost between the bra ads, beer ads and the umpteen million Obama/Romney mud slinging ads. I favor a two month slog through the states,
    holding pressers, fund raising dinners, and getting state LPers to bring out their Ron Paul friends and meet GJ—and then get them in the Party for the next time around. I’m fine with >1% if, for chrizakes, the LP could start 2013 with
    30,000 members.

  19. paulie

    That isn’t exactly true. Any alternate who has a motion to introduce may either have his or her representative introduce, either by mail ballot or at the meeting.

    In addition, during the meeting an alternate may also ask his or her representative to allow the alternate to have the position at the table in order to introduce and speak to a motion.

    This does not happen at every meeting, but I have seen it happen (and have allowed alternates to take the table for a motion) a number of times.

    Thanks for letting me know.

    I am not good at writing motions but if people here have specific motions they can write up, I will ask John to introduce them for me or to allow me to introduce them.

    Send me the language or post it here.

  20. paulie

    So I guess GJ isn’t going to swing around the country helping state LPs get enthusiastic, raise funds for their local races, and build a stronger party around the attraction of the best prez candidate ever.

    He just got through doing that in Florida recently, as well as has or soon will: OH, NC and Texas among others. He’s in Vegas this weekend.

    Give me a call at 415-690-6352, if I see them in Vegas this weekend I’ll remind them to call you.

    I favor a two month slog through the states,
    holding pressers, fund raising dinners, and getting state LPers to bring out their Ron Paul friends and meet GJ—and then get them in the Party for the next time around

    Same here.

    Regarding Ron Paul supporters

    I just posted at

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LNCRegion7/message/2

    Re: Ron Paul Outreach

    — In LNCRegion7@yahoogroups.com, “reedebarb” wrote:
    >
    > I am the Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Louisiana for those of you who
    don’t know. I was searching for ideas to reach out to Ron Paul supporters. I
    have been meeting with Ron Paul leaders under the radar in North Louisiana and
    have gotten a great deal of information I could have never dreamed of getting
    otherwise. Any other ideas?
    >

    Here is a sample script provided by Humongous Fungus. Other ideas welcome.

    ========================================================

    It is foolish for Ron Paul supporters not to have a plan B for November even if
    you think Ron Paul still has a chance to win the Republican nomination – it is
    good to anticipate and plan for what happens if he doesn’t.

    Johnson is organizing from scratch with very little resources to even get the
    message out. He needs your help now or he will be that much further behind by
    the time Romney officially wins the nomination.

    And supporting Romney should not even be considered. He is for war, bailouts,
    Romneycare…I could go on and on and on.

    There should not even be a question that if Ron Paul is not the Republican
    nominee that Johnson is much better than Romney.

    You do realize there is only 2 months between the Republican nomination and the
    election? Not much time to organize anything?

    That’s fine for Romney, he already has “universal” name recognition and plenty
    of money.

    Johnson has none of that. So let’s say we are right and Romney wins the nom (Ron
    Paul himself has already said there will not be enough Paul delegates to stop
    Romney from getting the nomination).

    What’s your next move then?

    Will there be enough time to organize a Johnson support campaign then? It would
    definitely be too late to help him get in the debate since that is based on
    September polls. If there is a chance that could still happen it would take Ron
    Paul supporters pushing Johnson as plan B right now, and even then it would be
    an extreme long shot.

    ======================================

    You may also want to then throw in an offer to support Ron Paul if he wins the
    Republican nomination. Since we know that he actually will not win the
    Republican nomination that won’t cost you anything.

    Some other things that may help:

    * Ron Paul said of Johnson “I can’t imagine endorsing anyone else” – this was
    when Johnson was running against Paul for the Republican nomination but you
    don’t have to point that out.

    * Judge Napolitano has allegedly just endorsed Johnson. Waiting on confirmation.

    * A lot of Ron Paul fans are also Jesse Ventura and Alex Jones fans, both of
    whom have endorsed Johnson.

    * If they bring up the “fair” tax – I am not a fan of that myself – tell them
    Ron Paul has said he would vote for it if it comes up for a vote in Congress.

    * If they say Johnson is pro-war or pro-fed, have some quotes ready (from
    ontheissues.org and the campaign website among other places).

    Any other questions or ideas?

  21. paulie

    Unfortunately, Gov. Johnson has been left out of nearly all national polling. But I think the notion that he is somewhere near six to nine percent at present is nonsense. Candidates like Nader ’00, Buchanan ’00, Perot ’92/’96, and Anderson ’80 were getting national coverage. Johnson is not. The reality is that he is probably at about 1.5% at best.

    Unfortunately, you are probably correct.

  22. NewFederalist

    IF Gary Johnson actually polls 1.5% of the popular vote in November he will certainly set a new record for LP nominees. I would consider that very significant especially since the “wasted vote” syndrome will be in high gear by election day.

  23. Thomas L. Knapp

    ATBAFT@24,

    “Since GJ won’t win, what’s the point of the campaign if not to build the party?”

    Most cynical answer: To get the party to pay off his Republican primary campaign debt.

    Less cynical answer: “The best way my campaign can build the party is to create a national media presence. That’s a better investment of our limited funds because instead of building the East Fayetteville, Arkansas LP by two new members with a personal appearance there, getting on CNN helps that local party, and every other, to build itself.”

  24. Austin Battenberg Post author

    For what it is worth, he is raising money much faster this time then he did during his last money bomb where it was $1 for every foot he climbed on Mt. Everest.

  25. Joe Buchman

    Zapper @ 7 and ALL,

    I just met with Ron Nielson here at Freedom Fest, showed him this string of posts and asked if he’d like to respond.

    Ron, “All of the money donated to GaryJohnson2012.com goes to the current campaign. Every dime. Federal matching funds are used to pay off past campaign debt — not Our American Initiative debt, work for which I do not anticipate being repaid. Federal matching funds cannot be used for anything other than paying off campaign debts. They cannot be held and used for future expenses.”

    So DONATE NOW. It seems clear to me your funds will not be used for any past Republican expenses.

    As for “silence” — I gather you expect the campaign to be proactively monitoring posts here and then responding. I’m fairly sure that is not a current priority — but if someone would like to do that job as a volunteer, let me know. I believe I could create that position for you!

    BTW — I’ve posted my campaign email, my personal email and my cell phone number here and NO ONE has contacted me directly about these concerns (other than one email from George to confirm Governor Johnson’s attendance at a gay rights event).

    Hope that helps. 115 more days to go. How about we actually unify behind this candidate and campaign? I hope that’s not too much to ask.

    If you have other specific concerns before feeling you can do that without hesitation or mental reservation, feel free to call, email . . . or post here. I promise to get right back to you on the former two, but, as for the latter method of communicating with the campaign . . .

    Joe
    josephbuchman@garyjohnson2012.com
    endorse@garyjohnson2012.com
    435 602 0798

  26. Steve Newton

    To echo Joe: I have been working as a State Director (Delaware) for this campaign for two months now. There are weekly conference calls for all of us with Ron Nielson (national) and for each region (with our regional director).

    Everybody is allowed to ask questions, and I have never heard a question dodged, or anyone told that they didn’t need to know that.

    I’ve listened to the nuts and bolts of the people at the campaign trying to sweat the expenditure of every dime that’s been donated to get Gary or Jim to one more town, one more event.

    In large measure much of the campaign is being run by the State Directors–as they are constantly seeking our input and getting us to work together to come up with our own promotions.

    Certainly there is proprietary information in some of these calls–you don’t want to telegraph an appearance or an event before you’re ready–but within this campaign I have seen no evidence of secrecy (sometimes confusion, but we’re all making this up as we go), and I’ve got both the emails and phone numbers of everybody who works there.

    The only conspiracy going on here is a conspiracy to get a Libertarian candidate some real coverage.

  27. Joe Buchman

    Zapper @ 11

    “The National LP and the State LPs are paying for ballot drives.”

    As is the campaign.

    Double check with Bill Redpath if you want . . . but in a conference call just this morning the campaign was asked to cover some of the ballot access expenses for Pennsylvania.

    I mean really. Is posting here, without calling or emailing the campaign or the LP directly, and assuming the worst in your comments, the best you can do for raising these concerns?

    I’m willing to answer specific concerns or questions as best I can — but what I wind up doing is seeking out the sources to ask the questions you all could be asking yourselves, rather than just posting negative conclusions, poetic or not, here.

    Seems a bit off to me.

    Joe

  28. Tim Hagan

    Ballot access is a program for the LNC. Any contributions designated for ballot access will go to the restricted funds account, to be spent only on that program. More money for ballot access is needed for Pennsylvania, Connecticut, & a couple of other states. Donate at https://www.lp.org/contribute, and put “For Ballot Access” in the Comments box.

  29. paulie

    As for “silence” — I gather you expect the campaign to be proactively monitoring posts here and then responding. I’m fairly sure that is not a current priority — but if someone would like to do that job as a volunteer, let me know. I believe I could create that position for you!

    OK, done, I’ll take that position.

    However, to be effective at it, I would have to be able to get answers.

    How can we make that happen?

  30. paulie

    Joe, Tim and Steve:

    Thanks for the answers.

    I think jumping to conclusions is universal on internet message boards. IPR is no exception.

  31. George Whitfield

    $22,547.58 raised from 383 donors
    I donated just before the $2,000 mark and feel good about having helped get it going. I spread the word about the moneybomb to my LP Meetup Group last night.

  32. paulie

    Tim,

    We should have a list of restricted funds available and do regular email blasts, LP blog posts and direct mail about them.

    If I remember Geoff’s chair’s report correctly he agrees that we should do more targeted fundraising. Hopefully you and other voting members agree as well.

    If no one else submits a motion, and if someone can write the language, I will ask John to submit one or let me submit one. Provided I get through TSA. If we don’t get to it at the meeting I will ask if we can have anyone endorse it for the purpose of an email ballot afterwards.

  33. Tom Blanton

    Since GJ won’t win, what’s the point of the campaign if not to build the party?

    To spread the libertarian message. Some might argue that Johnson is doing that, but many libertarians would disagree.

    $22,547.58 raised from 383 donors

    Another $200,000,000 and Johnson could mount a competitive campaign. Spreading that kind of dough around the various TV networks would likely result in an invitation to be in any debate those networks might sponsor – unless the Republicrat candidates decided they won’t appear with any third party candidates in a debate.

  34. paulie

    There are lots of ways to spread the message besides running a political campaign.

    It should be used to build the party and take it to a level where we are winning more local offices, swinging more races, and big enough to put pressure on more politicians to pass legislation we like and/or kill legislation we don’t like.

    I do think Johnson is making some attempts to do that, but he or his staff should comb the Harry Browne 2000 campaign journal for some more ideas on how to do that better.

    http://www.harrybrowne.org/2000/CampaignJournals.htm

  35. Joseph

    Blows me away that so many ‘libertarians’ are fretting, even piqued’ over how someone else’s money is spent. If you donate you can designate how you wish those funds to be expended. But if it is not your money don’t worry be happy.

  36. Tom Blanton

    There are lots of ways to spread the message besides running a political campaign.

    There are lots of ways to build a political party besides running a political campaign. But, just because you build a party does not mean they (libertarians) will come. Create actual libertarians and the party will build itself. Raise a few hundred million bucks and maybe, with some luck, a few libertarians might even get elected to national office and become co-opted by the political system in order to raise more money.

  37. Robert Capozzi

    44 tb: Create actual libertarians…

    Me: do they have bolts in their necks, flat heads, green skin? 😉

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