Biden Politics Trump

RFK Jr Out, Trump-Biden Rematch Looms

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. nearly met the polling threshold for the upcoming presidential debate, but due to the Thursday deadline and difficulties with ballot access, he won’t be on stage. CNN, hosting the June 27 debate in Atlanta, announced that the independent candidate did not meet their rules after the midnight deadline passed, indicating a significant setback for Kennedy’s campaign.

Kennedy had reached the 15% polling threshold in three out of four qualifying national surveys, highlighting his potential to be a spoiler in the anticipated rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. However, his inability to secure a fourth survey and gain ballot access in enough states to reach the required 270 electoral votes hampers his chances. Despite claims of unfair treatment by CNN, the reality of meeting the network’s criteria proved insurmountable.

The Kennedy campaign has faced significant challenges in gaining ballot access across all 50 states, a monumental task for any third-party candidate. The campaign asserts it has been approved for ballot access in nine states and collected enough signatures in 14 others. In theory, this would give Kennedy access to 310 electoral votes, but many of these states have yet to certify him, and they are unlikely to do so in time for the debate. CNN reported that he is on the ballot in only six states, totaling 89 electoral votes, a far cry from what is needed to be a serious contender.

Kennedy’s campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), accusing CNN of colluding with the Biden and Trump campaigns to exclude him from the debate. The complaint argues that the debate criteria were designed to ensure Biden and Trump’s participation, breaching federal campaign finance laws. Kennedy also pointed out that since Biden and Trump are presumptive but not official nominees, they do not yet have access to 270 electoral votes, a point CNN disputed by citing state laws favoring major party candidates.

The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has expressed willingness to have Kennedy on the debate stage. Trump’s national press secretary, Karoline Leavitt, stated that Trump believes any candidate who qualifies for the ballot should be allowed to present their case to voters. Leavitt accused Biden and the Democrats of using financial and legal means to prevent Kennedy’s ballot access, claiming they fear Kennedy will pull more votes from Biden than from Trump. The Democratic National Committee declined to comment, and the Biden campaign has previously argued that Kennedy would draw votes away from Trump, not Biden.

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