Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Dropped his Democratic number one bid and will run as an impartial. PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Longtime environmental lawyer and anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Monday he will run for president as an independent and drop his Democratic primary bid, adding a wrinkle to a 2024 race heading in the direction of a possible rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.
Kennedy, a member of one of the most well-known Democratic households in politics, changed into strolling a protracted-shot number one bid and has higher favorability ratings amongst Republicans than Democrats.
It’s uncertain whether the GOP guide might translate to a widespread election whilst Kennedy might additionally be running against Trump. Allies of Biden and Trump have for instance puzzled whether or not Kennedy might be a spoiler in opposition to their candidate.
Biden’s allies so far have dismissed Kennedy’s primary marketing campaign as unserious. Asked to touch upon his ability to impartial run, a Democratic National Committee spokesman spoke back with a watch roll emoji.
Awaiting Kennedy’s feedback on Monday, loads of supporters accumulated at Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, an apt place for the release.
Campaign signs teased a potential new slogan: “Declare your independence.”
Among Kennedy’s fans inside the crowd were several citizens who said they didn’t discover as Democratic or Republican and thought about Kennedy as a truth-teller and a breath of fresh air.
“He tells it how it’s miles,” said Julia Hill, a 23-year-vintage scholar from New Jersey. “He doesn’t sound like a baby-kisser.”
Other supporters, including Brent Snyder, a disabled veteran from south Philadelphia, stated they had voted for Trump in the past but were seeking out a trade.
“The ultimate couple years I’ve been noticing the Republican Party’s been going a manner I didn’t like,” Snyder stated. “Not that I agree with the whole thing that’s occurring to Trump,
but I think proper now he has extra baggage than his us of wishes. The division proper now is just terrible.
We want someone to bring each facet together to make us paintings.”
Monday’s assertion comes less than per week after the progressive activist Cornel West deserted his Green Party bid in desire of an impartial White House run. Meanwhile,
the centrist institution No Labels is actively securing ballot get right of entry for a yet-to-be-named candidate.
Kennedy has spent weeks accusing the DNC of “rigging” the birthday party’s primary in opposition to him and threatening that he might want to not forget options.
In marketing campaign emails and motion pictures, he blasted the DNC’s decision not to host debates between Biden and different applicants and railed against the committee’s plan to provide South Carolina as opposed to Iowa or New Hampshire the leadoff spot at the number one calendar this election cycle
“If they jam me, I’m going to have a look at every alternative,” he said in September at a New Hampshire barbecue held by means of Republican former Sen. Scott Brown.
Far-right and anti-vaccine influencers close to Kennedy also have despatched sturdy indicators on social media suggesting he had to or will depart the Democratic Party.
Last month, Joseph Mercola, an influential anti-vaccine doctor who is allied with Kennedy, ran a ballot on X, previously known as Twitter, asking if Kennedy should end the celebration.
While Kennedy has long recognized as a Democrat and regularly invokes his overdue father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and his uncle President John F. Kennedy at the marketing campaign trail,
he has built near relationships with a long way-right figures in recent years. He appeared on a channel run by means of the Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and headlined a stop at the ReAwaken America Tour,
the Christian nationalist road display prepared by Trump’s former countrywide safety adviser Michael Flynn.
Polls show that more Republicans than Democrats have a favorable opinion of Kennedy.
He additionally has won aid from a few distance-right conservatives for his fringe perspectives,
including his vocal mistrust of COVID-19 vaccines, which studies have shown are safe and effective in opposition to severe ailment and demise.
Kennedy’s anti-vaccine business enterprise, Children’s Health Defense, currently has a lawsuit pending against some news agencies, amongst them The Associated Press,
accusing them of violating antitrust legal guidelines by using taking action to perceive misinformation,
together with about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines. Kennedy took leave from the organization while he announced his run for president however is indexed as one of its attorneys within the lawsuit.
Associated Press writers Michelle Smith and Will Weissert contributed to this document.