Republicans and Democrats just wrapped up their big conventions, but Independents and non-affiliated voters might be wondering where alternative solutions were being discussed. For the past two weeks, the Gary Johnson campaign schedule included multiple stops and events in the neighboring areas surrounding each party's convention.
This past week's Democratic National Convention, held in Charlotte, North Carolina, began on Tuesday. Taking advantage of the political atmosphere in the region last week, Gov. Johnson scheduled events for Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the two-term New Mexico governor spoke at a demonstration in Charlotte led by the NORML Foundation, a non-profit marijuana legalization activist group. With rain pouring that day, Gov. Johnson still spoke about the cost of drug-related laws and rallied support for the Libertarian Party ticket. Halfway through Johnson's speech, an activist politely held an umbrella over the governor's head.
Gov. Johnson had a full schedule Wednesday. He spoke and participated on a panel with the American Muslim Alliance. He also stopped by a Tea Party event known as LibertyStock in Charlotte. Johnson was received well at the event and Your News Now's Courtney Gross quoted an attendee saying, "For me, personally, voting for the lesser of two evils is still evil."
A rally took place at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina on Wednesday evening. Gov. Johnson spoke the Libertarian message to about 100 people, promoting non-interventionist foreign policy, legalizing marijuana, cutting spending on healthcare, and cutting taxes.
What stood out was his message on guaranteed student loans. Being at a university and speaking to mainly students, his position on ending guaranteed student loans may have been a sensitive subject. He argued that guaranteed student loans lead to the high tuition costs of universities.
The Gary Johnson campaign's Communication Director, Joe Hunter, had this to say about support at the events during the conventions:
"At every event at both the Republican and Democratic conventions, it was clear that a great many people are not finding a comfortable political home in either of the two so-called major parties. Whether they support rational drug policy reform or civil liberties, they see that neither Obama nor Romney are offering a change from the status quo. The response to Gov. Johnson's message of fiscal conservatism and social tolerance was extremely positive."
Gary Johnson did not have access to the Republican National Convention the previous week until its closing. Fox Business's Neil Cavuto was able to get Gov. Johnson into the Tampa Bay Times Arena for an interview on Thursday night of the Republican convention:
P.A.U.L. Fest took place the weekend prior to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida on August 25th and 26th. Gov. Johnson was embraced by the crowd of Ron Paul supporters. He laid out his credentials for carrying the Libertarian message as Congressman Paul retires from politics. During the RNC, Gov. Johnson held events around Florida in Naples and Fort Myers and spoke to several media outlets, both local and national.
The Libertarian candidate is still facing issues with ballot access, but is optimistic about being included in all 50 states. The Republican Party of Virginia lost a challenge against Gov. Johnson's appearance on the state's ballot come November 6th. The Johnson campaign is still awaiting ballot access in Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan, and Oklahoma. A Gallup publication in July had Gov. Johnson polling at 3%, which is far from the current 15% threshold needed to participate in the presidential debate.