Democrats and their allies sue to keep RFK Jr. off the ballot in several states

Democrats and their allies sue to keep RFK Jr. off the ballot in several states

As independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. ramps up efforts to secure ballot access in all 50 states, he faces stiff resistance from Democratic political opponents attempting to block his November election bid with multiple lawsuits.

Kennedy vowed to be on the ballot in every state by the end of July. With just over a month to go, he’s made it on the ballot in five states: Utah, Michigan, Delaware, Oklahoma and Tennessee. But Kennedy is also facing legal challenges in five states —  Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Delaware and New Jersey. In some of those states, he’s submitted signatures for ballot access. Several of his political opponents say they’re not finished filing lawsuits against him, calling him a spoiler candidate who will likely throw the election in former President Trump’s favor. 

“RFK Jr. was recruited to run by MAGA Republicans; is being propped up by Trump’s largest donor; and his own campaign staff has said their goal is to hurt President Biden,” said Matt Corridoni, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee. “He has no real grassroots support, no pathway to 270 electoral votes, and his campaign is resorting to a pattern of deception and shortcuts to circumvent state rules for independent candidate ballot access.”

sore loser law,” which prohibits candidates from mounting an independent run after a failed bid for a major party nomination. The statute says that among those banned would be candidates who have been “a member of a political party at any time after the immediately preceding primary election for the general election,” or who “unsuccessfully sought the nomination of a political party to such position in the primary election.”

Kennedy decided to run as an independent last October, dropping his Democratic primary bid. A New Jersey court will hear arguments in the case next month, on July 17.

Salmon said he is using his own savings to carry out the challenge against Kennedy because “it’s the right thing to do.”

In Nevada, a key battleground state narrowly won by President Biden in 2020, the Nevada Democratic Party helped coordinate a lawsuit filed Thursday to keep Kennedy off the ballot. The court filing argues that Kennedy’s affiliation with multiple minor parties in other states violates Nevada’s ballot access laws for independent candidates.

Kennedy has claimed ballot access in multiple states through an assortment of third parties. He won the nomination of the American Independent Party in California, the Independent Party in Delaware, the Natural Law Party in Michigan, the Reform Party in Florida, the Alliance Party in South Carolina, and his own We the People Party in North Carolina and Hawaii.

“The State of Nevada has set up a reasonable process for placing candidates on the ballot. RFK Jr.’s campaign has not met the requirements necessary to run as an Independent non-affiliated party candidate in our state,” said Hilary Barrett, the Nevada Democratic Party executive director.

According to the Nevada secretary of state’s office, Kennedy has not yet filed a petition with the state. He is waging his own legal challenge against the Nevada secretary of state’s office and began circulating a new petition for signatures after he was informed that his first petition was invalid.

And in Delaware, the state Democratic Party alleges that the Independent Party failed to file certificates of nomination for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, within 10 days of nominating them at the party’s convention on January 23. 

Kennedy announced Shanahan as his running mate in March, about two months after Kennedy’s nomination in the state. In a letter to Delaware Election Commissioner Anthony Albence, an attorney representing the state  Democratic Party asked Albence to block their certification, and any other Independent Party candidate running for president in the state.

A super PAC called Clear Choice Action, aimed at stopping any third-party or independent candidates from making it to the November election, is leading similar efforts to keep Kennedy off the ballot by filing objections in New York and North Carolina. 

Kennedy’s campaign faces 13 challenges from Democratic groups in New York, including one challenge filed by the Democrat-aligned super PAC in June. Clear Choice claims Kennedy used an incorrect address on his New York petition and that many of the signatures submitted are illegible or from New Yorkers who are not registered to vote.

In North Carolina, the super PAC alleges that We The People, Kennedy’s own party, which submitted signatures for ballot access in May, violated North Carolina election laws by misleading signers into believing they were directly petitioning to place Kennedy on the ballot instead of creating a new political party that can subsequently hold a nominating convention. The state’s Board of Elections met Wednesday and decided to put Kennedy and Cornel West’s ballot access on hold while they investigate further, Clear Choice confirmed.

“We have a very strong legal team, one of the most motivated legal teams to defend every ballot petition lawsuit we’re receiving from the DNC, its PACs aligned with the DNC that are undermining democracy, in my opinion, to try to keep us off the ballot,” Shanahan said on Thursday during an interview with Elex Michaelson in response to the lawsuits. 

“But regardless, we love democracy and we’re fighting tooth and nail for it,” she added.