There will be a wild card in tonight's Republican presidential debate in Orlando—former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. And some supporters of Texas Rep. Ron Paul aren't happy about it. Their concern is that Johnson will steal some of Paul's thunder as another libertarian-oriented candidate in the race, and a younger and more telegenic one than Paul is.
One Paul advocate says including Johnson in a debate at such a crucial moment, just when Paul seems to be edging upward in national polls, might be designed to "marginalize" Paul. The Texas congressman has done well in past debates but has had the libertarian philosophy to himself. Now Johnson could make inroads. [See photos of the GOP contenders on the campaign trail.]
Paul advocates also say including Johnson could help Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has been feuding with his Texas colleague. Having another person on the stage will likely reduce Paul's time in the limelight.
Johnson, who barely registers in national polls, was allowed to participate in a debate in May, but the main contenders did not attend and he got little media attention at that time.