Politics

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. qualifies in Utah as presidential candidate

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the son of the former Democratic senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and the nephew of the former Democratic President John F. Kennedy

SALT LAKE CITY – After successfully gathering the necessary 1,000 signatures to meet the ballot requirements, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has officially submitted his candidacy for the 2024 presidential race in Utah.

This marks the first state where the independent candidate has achieved qualification.

Kennedy hosted a press conference in Salt Lake City on Jan. 3, joined by several volunteers and supporters that helped him collect more than double the 1,000-signature requirement.

The ex-environmental lawyer, who is the son of the former Democratic senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of the former Democratic President John F. Kennedy, departed from the Democratic party last autumn and declared his independent candidacy for the presidency.

Kennedy’s access to Utah’s presidential ballot comes after a legal battle between Kennedy’s campaign and the state of Utah, which originally required Kennedy to obtain 1,000 signatures before Jan. 8.

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson eventually moved the ballot access deadline to March 5, although the Kennedy campaign met the requirements before the original deadline.

“Our ground team and volunteers in Utah pulled off an incredible achievement by collecting thousands of signatures in just one week,” Kennedy said.

“We didn’t know whether the court would uphold our challenge to the January 8 deadline, so the volunteers had to hurry. They showed the country the depth of commitment on this campaign.”

Kennedy’s campaign is already working on meeting the ballot requirements for the other 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Ballot access for independent and minority-party candidates is a complex process, with each state setting it’s own rules, which Kennedy has criticized in the past as a form of voter suppression.

“Each state has different signature numbers, petitioning windows, circulator requirements, petition forms with varying fields, and other rules,” Kennedy wrote on Substack.

“This gallimaufry of ballot access requirements entrenches the power of the two major parties, who would rather force my independent campaign to spend millions of dollars getting on the ballot than face us in a fair contest of ideas.”

Despite this, Kennedy’s campaign secured ballot access in Utah and is in the process of acquiring access in Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, and New Hampshire.

“We’re ready for whatever comes our way,” said Stefanie Spear, press secretary for the campaign. “We have the field teams, volunteers, legal teams, paid circulators, supporters, and strategy ready to get the job done. One down, 50 to go.”

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