Apr 14, 2024 - Politics & Policy

RFK Jr. rules out Libertarian presidential run

Up-close image of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appears at Fox News Channel Studios April 2 in New York City. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Independent presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Saturday ruled out running as a Libertarian.

Why it matters: Kennedy faces obstacles to getting on the ballot in all 50 states as an independent while he continues his long-shot bid against President Biden and former President Trump — the presumptive Democratic and GOP nominees.

What he's saying: "We're not gonna have any problems getting on the ballot ourselves so we won't be running Libertarian," Kennedy told ABC's Brittany Shepherd on Saturday in Iowa, where he sought to get ballot access in the state.

  • In order to qualify for the ballot in Iowa, Kennedy needed to hold a convention constituting at least 500 eligible voters in the state who make up at least 25 counties, per the AP.
  • Requirements for third-party and independent candidates to appear on state ballots vary widely and it's often a grueling and expensive process to qualify. It's also a cornerstone for having a chance of winning a national race.

Kennedy's campaign said it qualified for Iowa ballot access following the Des Moines convention, per a Saturday statement.

  • His campaign said he is "already on the ballot in Utah and has collected all the necessary signatures to be on the ballot in New Hampshire, Nevada, Hawaii, North Carolina, Idaho, and Nebraska."
  • The results of Saturday's convention have not yet been certified by the Iowa secretary of state's office.

Zoom out: Earlier this year, Kennedy had toyed with the idea of running as a Libertarian.

  • Kennedy also ditched his Democratic presidential bid this past October for an independent ticket — igniting fear among Democrats that it could help Trump defeat Biden in November.
  • However, Kennedy has described his campaign as "a spoiler for President Biden and for President Trump," per the New York Times.

Go deeper: RFK Jr. campaign says it has enough signatures for North Carolina ballot

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