In Philadelphia this morning, environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy officially declared his candidacy for president as an independent, dropping his Democratic primary bid.
“I’m here to declare myself an independent candidate for president of the United States,” Kennedy said.
A Kennedy candidacy throws a giant wrench into the equation for both Joe Biden and Donald Trump – the latter being the presumed GOP candidate. Kennedy said he was running as an Independent because the DNC provided no viable path forward for him as a Democrat.
Hundreds of supporters gathered in Philadelphia to listen to Kennedy’s remarks.
Kennedy’s siblings aren’t pleased with Robert’s decision to run as an independent.
“The decision of our brother Bobby to run as a third-party candidate against Joe Biden is dangerous to our country. Bobby might share the same name as our father, but he does not share the same values, vision, or judgment. Today’s announcement is deeply saddening for us. We denounce his candidacy and believe it to be perilous for our country,” Kerry Kennedy posted on Twitter this morning.
Though Kennedy is not the only candidate running as an independent, he is the most well-known, partly due to his family’s legacy in the United States.
The campaign plans to hold a series of events in Texas, Florida, and Georgia later this month, with a campaign spokesperson expressing their commitment to extensive travel leading up to next year’s general election.
They are confident about gaining ballot access in all states before November 2024.
Historically, independent and third-party candidates faced challenges in presidential elections. In 1992, Texas entrepreneur Ross Perot ran a notable independent campaign, securing 8% of the vote in a general election won by Bill Clinton.
Kennedy’s independent campaign adds complexity to an already closely contested general election. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll among likely voters in a hypothetical three-way race with Biden, Trump, and Kennedy showed 14% supporting Kennedy, 40% for Trump, and 38% for Biden. Whether Kennedy can convert this support into November 2024 votes remains uncertain with over a year to go.
Kennedy initially launched his campaign to challenge President Biden in the Democratic primary in April, targeting early primary states like New Hampshire and South Carolina. However, his efforts had minimal impact, with just 9% of likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire supporting him in a September CNN/University of New Hampshire poll.