Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson may be trailing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in fundraising, but his August numbers show a dramatic uptick in third party interest since he ran for president in 2012.
According to a release by the campaign, Johnson raised more than $2.9 million online in the first two weeks of August. The haul came from 90,000 people contributing an average of $32.
That’s a marked change from 2012, when Johnson ran as a Libertarian against Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. That year he raised just $356,406 in August, Politico reports, and he raised a total of $2,317,996 over the course of the campaign, according to Center For Responsive Politics. In 15 days this month, Johnson bested his entire fundraising amount from 2012.
“The fact that we received more than 90,000 individual small contributions is overwhelming, and a major boost for the campaign,” Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, said in a statement.
One reason Americans may be about $2 million more open to Johnson this August is that he’s running against two historically unpopular major party candidates. In a recent NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll, 59% of respondents had unfavorable views of Clinton, and 64% of respondents had unfavorable views of Trump. (In the same poll, 11% of voters said that if the election were held today, they would vote for Johnson.)
Now, Johnson’s team hopes the surge in fundraising will help him get on the debate stage with Clinton and Trump in the fall. The campaign’s fundraising statement said they “encouraged small contributions” to help bring Johnson’s polling average up to the 15% required to participate in the debates. A Real Clear Politics poll average currently has Johnson at 8.5%.