By Jeff Louderback
As President Joe Biden learned he had won the New Hampshire Democrat primary as a write-in candidate, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced he had gathered the required number of signatures to appear on that state’s general election ballot in November.
Mr. Kennedy’s team collected more than 3,000 signatures in one day in the Granite State, according to a statement from the campaign.
“I want to thank our dedicated supporters and volunteers who made this great accomplishment possible,” Mr. Kennedy said.
“Democracy is much more than voting. I’m inspired by how enthusiastic people are to collect signatures, create new political parties, and rally for real change,” Mr. Kennedy added.
“This kind of energy is what will get us onto the ballot in every state and fuel our voter registration and GOTV operation as we head toward election day.”
Volunteers from across New Hampshire and every state in New England joined to gather signatures at around 100 precincts from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m., a campaign spokesperson reported.
When he declared his candidacy for president last April, Mr. Kennedy envisioned celebrating a victory in the New Hampshire Democrat primary in January.
Instead, after announcing he would run as an independent and leave the Democrat primary last October, Mr. Kennedy commemorated a different feat as President Joe Biden won the New Hampshire primary as a write-in candidate.
In an interview last August, Mr. Kennedy told The Epoch Times that “I’m a Democrat” and he was running for president to restore the party to the values it represented when his uncle, John F. Kennedy, was president and his father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was seeking the Democrat presidential nomination in 1968.
Mr. Kennedy considered New Hampshire a major battleground state in the Democrat primary.
New Hampshire was historically the first primary in the nation, after the Iowa caucus. Early last year, at the urging of President Joe Biden, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) voted to replace New Hampshire with South Carolina as the first primary.
When New Hampshire Democrats refused, citing a state law, the DNC called it an unsanctioned primary and President Biden did not appear on the ballot.
Mr. Kennedy announced on Oct. 9 in Philadelphia that he would run as an independent and leave the Democrat primary, calling it “rigged” by the DNC.
“American democracy should be more than just picking between two candidates anointed by shadowy institutions. Big Oil funds the Republicans. Big Tech funds the Democrats. Big Pharma and the military contractors make sure to donate to both.
“Instead of two parties, we have a uni-party, a monster with two faces loudly bickering with itself as it lumbers over a cliff,” Mr. Kennedy said.
Mr. Kennedy is officially on the ballot in Utah. He believes he will be on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Earlier in January, Mr. Kennedy said that his campaign had filed paperwork in six states to create its own political party.
The move was made to get his name on the ballot in those states with fewer voter signatures than is required for candidates not affiliated with a party.
In five states—California, Delaware, Hawaii, Mississippi, and North Carolina—Mr. Kennedy’s campaign formed the “We the People” party. The “Texas Independent Party” was also established.
Filing for political party status in the six states reduced the number of signatures required for Mr. Kennedy to gain ballot access by about 330,000, according to a statement by his campaign.
To get on the ballots of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Mr. Kennedy noted, his campaign must collect about 1 million valid pen-and-paper signatures through petitions across the country.
“Effectively, this means closer to 1.5 million to ensure that enough are valid,” Mr. Kennedy said.
His campaign said in a press release on Jan. 16 that multiple states give independent presidential candidates two methods of achieving ballot access—as an individual candidate or as the nominee of a new party.
The two processes often require different numbers of signatures, the campaign explained.
“In most states, the individual candidate process requires fewer signatures. However, in some states, party ballot access requires fewer signatures and is therefore the most direct path to ballot access in those states,” the campaign noted.
Once the new party gains ballot access, it can nominate a candidate.
American Values 2024, the super PAC supporting Mr. Kennedy, said that it planned to spend more than $10 million to get on the ballot in 10 states, including California and Texas.
Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, and New York are the others.
The super PAC recently announced it had hired three firms to collect voter signatures in Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan.
After the results of the New Hampshire primary were announced, Mr. Kennedy told Fox News that President Biden “is probably not going to campaign” and “the Democrats are relying on court cases to try to derail the election, to try to keep President Trump off the ballot.”
I think that’s a very, very bad strategy. I think it’s bad for democracy. I think it’s bad for the Democratic Party. I think it’s bad for everybody,” Mr. Kennedy added.
Mr. Kennedy noted that his favorability ratings were better than President Biden and President Trump, and he is ahead of both candidates among Americans under the age of 45 in six battleground states.
In a Gallup poll conducted from Dec. 1 to Dec. 20, 2023, Mr. Kennedy led all presidential candidates with a 52 percent favorability rating. President Trump followed with 42 percent, President Biden 41 percent, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley 33 percent, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis 32 percent.
Mr. Kennedy and Ms. Haley led in the least favorable category at 34 percent compared to 58 percent for President Biden, 57 percent for President Trump, and 52 percent for Mr. DeSantis.
A survey of registered voters conducted by Siena College and The New York Times released in early November 2023 indicated that in six battleground states, Mr. Kennedy would receive 24 percent of the vote in a three-way race, while President Trump would get 35 percent and President Biden would get 33 percent.
The balance said they remained undecided or wouldn’t vote.
The poll included 3,662 likely voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The margin of sampling error varies among the state polls, from plus or minus 4.4 percentage points to plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.
That survey shows Mr. Kennedy leading President Biden and President Trump among voters under 45 in those six states.
Mr. Kennedy registered 34 percent support among voters aged 18 to 29 compared with 30 percent for President Biden and 29 percent for President Trump.
For voters aged 30 to 44, Mr. Kennedy led with 31 percent while President Biden and President Trump each collected 30 percent.
Mr. Kennedy continues to travel the country holding rallies and collecting signatures to get on the ballot in all states. He will be in Charleston, West Virginia, on Jan. 27.
At a voter rally in Atlanta on the eve of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Mr. Kennedy told a crowd that 2024 marks the first election in American history where there are more independents than Democrats and Republicans.
“I’m gaining about one point a month, and I’ve got nine months,” Mr. Kennedy said. “All I need to do is get to 34 points, and I win the election.
“I am running against the two most unpopular candidates in American history,” Mr. Kennedy said in Atlanta, referencing President Trump and President Biden as the likely nominees of their respective parties.
“Americans don’t want to keep choosing the lesser of two evils.”
Pointing to the polls, the enthusiasm at voter rallies, and the “grassroots army” he says is the largest among any presidential candidate, Mr. Kennedy believes there is a path to victory in November.
“Many Democrats say they are not voting for President Biden, but they are voting against President Trump. Many Republicans say the same thing, that they are voting against President Biden,” Mr. Kennedy said.
“It’s important that we have somebody who can inspire us—someone people like and are excited about voting for.”