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RFK Jr. Gains California Ballot Access

Chris Agee
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On Monday, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. secured a spot on California’s ballot this November. His official entry into the Golden State contest sets the stage for a potentially game-changing election season. By aligning with the American Independent Party (AIP), Kennedy complied with state election rules and took a huge step in his challenge to the two major political parties. 

Kennedy and his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, officially joined forces with the AIP, a party historically linked to segregationist ideologies that now promotes values of “compassion, unity, idealism, and common sense,” according to Kennedy’s video announcement. “When they learned about my candidacy, they had just drafted a new charter for their reborn party, where they could use their battle lines for good,” Kennedy said, embracing the AIP’s transformation and dedication to supporting independent candidates.

With his name set to appear on the ballots of three states — California, Utah and Michigan — and his campaign gaining momentum across the nation, Kennedy is making his presence felt. He is also striving to secure ballot access in seven more states. This expansion of his campaign’s reach is a clear indication of his intent to make a significant impact on the upcoming election. He is positioning himself as a viable third option, challenging the dominance of Joe Biden and President Donald Trump.

With Kennedy polling at nearly 8.5%, his presence in key states, especially California — the jewel in the electoral crown with its massive trove of 55 electoral votes — could potentially siphon support from Biden.  

Kennedy’s third-party candidacy introduced a wild card into a race many had seen as a direct contest between Biden and Trump. His campaign has been working to gain a foothold with younger voters disillusioned by the Democrat Party’s failures to address their top concerns — primarily their economic futures. 

Even though Biden is ahead of Trump in California in head-to-head polling by around twenty points, if he begins to lose significant momentum to Kennedy, the complexion of the contest could shift radically. If the Biden campaign faces a serious challenge from the left in deep-blue California, it could be forced to shift resources to a state it has certainly not considered in its strategy so far.