RFK Jr. Meets Requirements For Presidential Ballot in Utah

Third-party presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced last week that he had officially filed papers in Utah to appear on the 2024 ballot in the state, making Utah the first state where RFK Jr. has qualified, the Associated Press reported.

In a campaign event in Salt Lake City on January 3, Kennedy announced that he met the 1,000-signature requirement to appear on the Utah presidential ballot and had that morning officially filed for candidacy in the state.

According to Kennedy campaign spokeswoman Stefanie Spear, Utah was the first state that the campaign submitted signatures and qualified for the presidential ballot, and Arizona will likely be the second state.

Kennedy criticized the ballot requirements in some states, saying independent candidates face barriers the major party candidates do not. He said some states make it nearly impossible for a 3rd-party candidate to break through the “chokehold” the RNC and DNC have over American politics.

The candidate gained favor among Trump supporters during the pandemic over his opposition to the vaccine. Fueled in part by a push from influential Trump supporters like Steve Bannon, Kennedy initially launched a Democrat primary challenge to President Joe Biden in April 2023. However, after the DNC refused to schedule primary debates and made it clear that it supported Biden’s reelection, Kennedy announced an independent run for the White House in October.

While a 3rd-party candidate is unlikely to win the White House, the entry of a prominent independent candidate could act as a spoiler, siphoning votes away from the major party nominees.

Supporters of both President Biden and Donald Trump have voiced concern that Kennedy could be a spoiler for their respective candidates. With both Biden and Trump deeply unpopular with voters, if the 2024 election comes down to a rematch between the two, a 3rd-party candidate could play a more significant role in deciding the presidency.

Kennedy appears to recognize the polarized political environment leading into 2024 and has campaigned more to the middle, aligning with the right on some issues while continuing to tout his background as an environmentalist.

At this point, it is unclear how many states Kennedy will qualify in. Each state has its own requirements for independent candidates and the process of navigating the rules and collecting signatures in all 50 states is costly, especially without the financial backing of a major party.