RFK Jr Nails Down First Battleground-State Ballot Spot: Who Will Benefit Most?

In a development that’s sure to cause shudders at Democratic National Party headquarters, the independent campaign of Robert F. Kennedy Jr on Thursday officially secured a place on the ballot in tightly-contested Michigan. However, some polls point to Kennedy being a bigger threat to Trump in the state that has 15 electoral votes. 

Michigan is considered one of seven battleground states that will decide the 2024 presidential election — along with Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Polls generally show that the presence of independent and third-party candidates Kennedy, Cornel West and Jill Stein provide a small benefit to Donald Trump.

With many Democratic electoral cornerstones wobbling — including blacks, Hispanics and young people — Blue Team is worried that Kennedy will peel off enough discontented Democrats to deliver victory to Trump. That’s why Democrats are launching a multi-pronged attack on Kennedy, from legal challenges to his state ballot applications to hosting more than 15 Biden-endorsing Kennedy family members at a Philadelphia event on Thursday. 

Democratic worries about Michigan are compounded by what happened in the state’s February primary. In a protest of Biden’s handling of the Israel-Gaza war, more than 13% of Democrats voted “uncommitted.” The 100,000 who chose that option represented a block more than 9 times Donald Trump’s 2016 victory margin.  

However, two recent polls suggest the Trump campaign should be uneasy about Kennedy’s Michigan ballot accomplishment.

  • Fox News shows Trump up 3 points in a head-to-head, but only up 2 points in a five-way contest. Kennedy scores 9%. 
  • Marketing Resource Group has Trump ahead by 6% vs Biden, but up 3% with Kennedy, Stein and West in the mix. Kennedy snags 13%. 

With the uncertain Kennedy impact in mind, Trump’s Make America Great Again PAC on Monday launched a “Radical F***ing Kennedy” website, which spotlights various Kennedy stances that are anathema to conservatives.  

A Trump-backing Super PAC launched this website Monday to turn conservatives away from voting for Kennedy

With less than seven months to election day, Michigan is only the second state where Kennedy is officially on the ballot — along with Utah. However, Kennedy’s campaign and PAC say they’ve hit the signature requirements in many other states — including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina — and are awaiting the states’ validation. 

Earlier this week, Kennedy announced that, after having considered the option, he wouldn’t pursue the Libertarian Party’s nomination as a way of instantly achieving 50-state ballot access. “We’re not gonna have any problems getting on the ballot ourselves so we won’t be running Libertarian,” Kennedy told ABC News. “We’re going to add probably two to three states a week.”

Kennedy won’t officially be an independent in the Wolverine State: His name will appear on the ballot line of the obscure Natural Law Party, which was founded to solve political problems “through alignment with the ‘Unified Field’ of all the laws of nature through the use of the Transcendental Meditation.” Once a fledgling national organization, its last remnants are in Michigan; Ralph Nader ran on the state party’s line in 2008. “[Kennedy is] the most qualified candidate in the modern-day history of America,” said party chairman Doug Dern.


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