A presidential candidate will stop in Wisconsin this week, but not the one you think

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson will hold a rally in Milwaukee this week, as third party candidates increase their focus on Wisconsin.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s campaign is headquartered in Madison, and Johnson’s campaign says they’ll soon also set up a campaign office in the Milwaukee area. Both are trying to turn #NeverTrump or #NeverHillary voters into a vote for one of them.

Gary Johnson Wisconsin campaign chair and Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate Phil Anderson said their campaigns have been overwhelmed by volunteers this year, which is in part why Johnson has scheduled a rally in Milwaukee Thursday night.

“Based on the polling information, they’ve identified Wisconsin as being a target state,” Anderson said.

The most recent poll by Marquette University Law School in early August showed Gary Johnson at double-digits among registered voters in Wisconsin. Hillary Clinton got 42 percent and Donald Trump 33 percent, while Johnson got 10 percent and Stein got 4 percent. Some 10 percent of voters in that poll said they’d vote for none of those candidates or were undecided.

“Definitely the third party candidates are polling at a higher level now than in any election since 1992, so this is clearly going to be a better year for the third party candidates because of the disaffection between Clinton and Trump,” University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist David Canon said.

Some 60 percent of Wisconsin voters have viewed Trump unfavorably in the last Marquette poll, while 55 percent had an unfavorable view of Clinton.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean the high dislike for the two major party candidates opens a door for a third party candidate to win. Winner-take-all rules for the electoral college mean it would be difficult for any third party candidate to get the majority needed to win any particular state’s electoral votes.

“While third party candidates can play a role it’s going to be kind of the role as a spoiler,” Canon said. “Like Ralph Nader did in 2000 with Al Gore, in that Nader was the difference in Florida which ended up giving the election to George Bush.”

But those who support these third party candidates don’t see it as a wasted vote.

“Your vote is your expression of what you believe in and the candidates you believe in,” Anderson said. “So really, you’re wasting your vote if you’re holding your nose and voting for one of the candidates that you’ve been hand-fed. You’re not wasting your vote if you’re expressing how you feel about it.”

In Anderson’s race for Senate, the Marquette poll showed him with 8 percent support against Russ Feingold and Ron Johnson.

Campaign volunteers for Stein also say they’re planning to ramp up their efforts in Wisconsin over the coming weeks as well.

Originally published at www.channel3000.com.

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