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Donald Trump stops in Chester Township, Pa., Thursday for a rally in the battleground state. Hillary Clinton maintains a lighter schedule heading into the first debate next week.

  • Donald Trump faces his first questions over controversies involving his foundation and "birther" comments
  • Mike Pence says there's "far too much talk" about racism and policing.
  • Trump wants to expand stop-and-frisk policies despite concerns that the policies are racially discriminatory
  • Meanwhile, Trump orders a cheese steak from a Philadelphia restaurant with controverisal past
  • Hillary Clinton wonders, "Why aren't I 50 points ahead, you might ask?"

The presidential race in Arizona was already tight. Then voters started noticing Gary Johnson

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaks to supporters at a rally this month in New York. (Bryan R. Smith / AFP)
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaks to supporters at a rally this month in New York. (Bryan R. Smith / AFP)

Under a scorching September sun, Lauren McCarthy and Anthony Fraijo were unflaggingly chipper as they buttonholed Arizona State University students with one question: “Are you happy with the two major parties?”

The two recent college graduates were looking to coax voters over to a third option, the Libertarian presidential ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. And they were working doubly fertile territory of both Arizona, home to a particular strain of libertarian-tinged conservatism, and one of the nation’s largest campuses, full of millennials shown to be more open to outsider candidates than older generations.

That Arizona, a reliably red state, is seen as a potential battleground at all underscores the unpredictable nature of this year’s presidential contest, into which Johnson’s insurgent campaign has injected even more ambiguity.

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