On the heels of the first presidential debate, the campaign of Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and running mate William Weld, has named Westport resident and well-known celebrity Melissa Joan Hart as Connecticut Chairperson for the campaign. The actress, best remembered for starring roles in her youth in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Clarissa Explains it All, tells People magazine’s online program People Now that she “loves politics,” but is “fatigued” by it now.
"I want to break away from this two-party system and I think it's important for people to know that there's another candidate out there who really toes the line between Democrat and Republican," says Hart. "I mean he's Libertarian. But socially he's liberal, but fiscally conservative."
Johnson, 63, is the former governor of New Mexico – a position he held from 1995 to 2003. He ran a third party presidential campaign in 2012. Weld is also a former Governor, having led the Bay State of Massachusetts, first elected in 1990.
Hart says she disagrees with the notion that a third-party candidate can't win the election, dispelling arguments that a vote for Johnson is a wasted vote. In her home state, polls indicate his level of popular support is tiny, but she suggests it could have an impact.
"I think that everyone that I keep hearing say that, if they all voted for him we could have a third party win," she told People Now. "Even if he doesn't get that far, I just hope that they let him debate." Referring to one of the campaigns most frequently mentioned issues, she indicated that "He was on a border state, so if you want to talk about immigration, he's the guy."
Johnson and Weld have yet to campaign in Connecticut. Johnson was not invited to participate by the Commission on Presidential Debates because he did not have 15 percent of voter support according to recent national polling. The Johnson campaign website indicates that a recent NBC/Survey Monkey poll shows Johnson leading both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton among “pure independents” 31% to 24%. The survey, according to the site, is consistent with others showing Johnson with significant strength among not only independents, but particularly younger voters.
Melissa Joan Hart turned 40 earlier this year, is married to Mark Wilkerson. TV Guide reports she “made a pact with her husband to move out of Los Angeles before their second child went to kindergarten; they moved to Westport in 2009, and their family now includes three sons.