RFK Jr. Gains Ballot Access in Florida With Reform Party Nomination

The political party founded by Ross Perot in 1995 draws Mr. Kennedy a step closer to getting on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Reform Party, which was founded by Ross Perot, has nominated Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as its presidential candidate in Florida, the organization announced.

“The Reform Party has nominated Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for President of the United States and will hand him our automatic ballot access in the State of Florida as well as our advantages as a qualified party,” a party spokesperson wrote in a May 24 statement.

Ballot access is a widely discussed topic in Mr. Kennedy’s bid to become the first independent president since George Washington.

Mr. Kennedy announced his candidacy to challenge President Joe Biden for the Democratic Party nomination in April 2023.

After encountering multiple roadblocks from the Democratic National Committee and claiming that the organization was “rigging the primary” to favor President Biden and prevent other candidates from competing, he chose to run as an independent in October 2023.

Since then, Mr. Kennedy has focused on gaining ballot access in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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When Mr. Kennedy named Nicole Shanahan as his running mate in late March, he said he would announce one to three states per week where ballot access was attained, a prediction that so far has been accurate.

He is officially on the ballot in California, Delaware, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. The campaign has said that it has collected enough signatures to appear on the ballot in Hawaii, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, and Iowa.

With Florida and its 30 Electoral College votes added to the list, Mr. Kennedy now has enough ballot access to potentially win 231 electoral votes.

One qualification that Mr. Kennedy must meet to appear in debates is to appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold.

Another guideline is to reach at least 15 percent in national polls.

For the recently announced June 27 debate hosted by CNN and the Sept. 10 event coordinated by ABC News, candidates must be at or above 15 percent in four select national polls.

The Commission on Presidential Debates, which has three forums slated for September and October, requires the 270 electoral vote threshold and a 15 percent minimum in five national polls.

“I’m happy to report that I will meet the criteria to participate in the CNN debate before the June 20 deadline. I look forward to holding Presidents Biden and Trump accountable for their records in Atlanta on June 27 to give Americans the debate they deserve,” Mr. Kennedy said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

That the Reform Party nominated Mr. Kennedy as its presidential candidate in Florida is also significant.

Mr. Perot founded the party in 1995.

As an independent candidate in 1992, he received nearly 19 percent of the vote in a race won by Bill Clinton.

Many political pundits believe that Mr. Perot’s presence in the election contributed to President George H.W. Bush’s defeat.

As the Reform Party candidate in 1996, Mr. Perot was less successful.

He tallied 8.4 percent of the popular vote in an election won by President Clinton (49.2 percent) over Mr. Perot and Republican nominee Robert Dole (40.7 percent).

Mr. Perot was called a “spoiler” in 1992 because he garnered 19 percent of the popular vote but did not win a state.

Mr. Kennedy has been called a spoiler, too, but he insists is a path to victory and he intends to “spoil the election for President [Joe] Biden and President [Donald] Trump” and “win the race.”

Votes are expected to be at a premium in the general election with President Trump, President Biden, Mr. Kennedy, independent Cornel West, Green Party nominee Jill Stein, and the Libertarian Party nominee, which will be announced this weekend at the party’s convention.

Marquette Law School released a poll earlier this week that showed President Trump atop the field in a five-way race at 40 percent followed by President Biden at 37 percent, Mr. Kennedy at 17 percent, and Mr. West and Ms. Stein with 3 percent each.

Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attends a rally at the Val Air Ballroom in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 13, 2024. (Kathryn Gamble/The Epoch Times)
Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attends a rally at the Val Air Ballroom in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 13, 2024. (Kathryn Gamble/The Epoch Times)

“He has more energy than Joe Biden and more maturity than Donald Trump. The Reform Party aligns with him better on the issues than we do with the establishment politicians. We are sure that he will be the next President of the United States,” Reform Party Convention Secretary Richard Kasa said.

Mr. Kennedy praised the Reform Party’s support in a May 24 post on X, formerly Twitter.

“The independent political movement is coming together in support of my candidacy. Thank you @ReformParty for stepping up! You’re the party that got the independent movement rolling in 1996.”

In January, Mr. Kennedy’s campaign said it had filed paperwork in six states to create a political party. The move was made to get his name on the ballots with fewer voter signatures than those states require for unaffiliated candidates.

A statement by Mr. Kennedy’s campaign reported that filing for political party status in the six states reduced the number of signatures required for him to gain ballot access by about 330,000.

The We the People party was established in five states: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Mississippi, and North Carolina.

In other states, Mr. Kennedy is seeking third-party backing to get on the ballot.

Before the Reform Party nominated him in Florida, Mr. Kennedy achieved ballot access in Michigan through the Natural Law Party and in California via the American Independent Party.

Mr. Kennedy’s campaign is reportedly in contact with third parties to get on the ballot in more states while he continues his ballot access quest in other states as an independent.

At a voter rally in Austin, Texas, on May 13, he said the campaign has gathered enough signatures to appear on the New York ballot, but a formal announcement has yet to be made.

New York has a 42-day window for collecting signatures, the smallest time frame of any state. The petition-gathering process started on April 16 and will end on May 28.

Candidates must gather and submit at least 45,000 valid signatures to qualify for ballot access.

Mr. Kennedy said the campaign had reached the 45,000 mark but would continue to gather signatures until it reached 90,000, in case an opposing party challenged the petitions.

Stefanie Spear, Mr. Kennedy’s press secretary, told The Epoch Times that the campaign is collecting double the number of required signatures knowing that some could be disqualified.

That is not expected to be an issue in Florida with the Reform Party’s nomination.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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