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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Will Gary Johnson and Jill Stein play the spoiler in Florida?



A Super Bowl-sized audience tuned in Monday night to watch two presidential candidates duke it out on a debate stage inside an auditorium on Long Island.

Two more presidential candidates were locked out, forced to watch it on television like regular voters while the mass media pretended they didn't exist: Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.

Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico, is the Libertarian Party nominee. Stein, a Massachusetts physician and activist, represents the Green Party.

Neither have much chance of winning the Nov. 8 election, experts say, but both could have an outsized effect on the outcome, especially in Florida. The crucial swing state and near must-win for Republican nominee Donald Trump could come down to who loses the fewest votes to Johnson and Stein.

Which means we could see a repeat of the 2000 election, when some say the 97,488 Floridians who voted for the Green Party's Ralph Nader handed the presidency to Republican George W. Bush.

"That could definitely happen," said Hans Noel, associate professor of government at Georgetown University. "That is certainly within the realm of possible things. If it's a close race, it's very likely to be the situation."

Story here.

[Last modified: Friday, September 30, 2016 9:24am]


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