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July 14, 2024
Politics President

RFK Jr Out, Trump-Biden Rematch Looms

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. narrowly missed the polling threshold for the upcoming presidential debate, with the Thursday deadline to qualify, plus his difficulty gaining ballot access, ensuring he will not make the stage. CNN, which is hosting the June 27 debate in Atlanta, Georgia, announced that the independent presidential candidate did not meet the rules set out after the midnight deadline passed.

Kennedy’s performance in the polls underscores his potential to be a significant factor in a presidential rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. He reached the 15% polling threshold in three of four qualifying national surveys, indicating his ability to draw support from voters in both parties. However, Kennedy lacks the fourth survey and the ballot access in enough states to reach 270 electoral votes, the necessary number to win the presidency.

Despite his campaign’s efforts to gain access in all 50 states, the process of collecting enough signatures is a monumental task for third-party candidates. Kennedy’s campaign claims it has secured ballot access in nine states, including California, Texas, and Michigan, and has collected enough signatures in 14 others. However, many of these states have not certified Kennedy and are not expected to do so in time for the debate, limiting his access to a total of 89 Electoral College votes according to CNN.

Kennedy has accused CNN of unfair treatment, arguing that the debate criteria were designed to favor Biden and Trump, both presumptive nominees of their respective parties. His campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), alleging that CNN’s exclusion of him constitutes an illegal campaign contribution. Despite this, political experts remain skeptical that the FEC will force CNN to change its rules, given the commission’s historical reluctance to take strong stances and its composition of Democrats and Republicans.

The Trump campaign has stated that the former president would welcome Kennedy on the debate stage, asserting that any candidate who qualifies for the ballot should be allowed to present their case to voters. Trump’s campaign accuses Biden and the Democrats of using financial and legal resources to prevent Kennedy’s access to the ballot, fearing that he would draw more votes away from Biden than from Trump. Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee has remained silent on the matter, highlighting the strategic concerns both parties have regarding Kennedy’s impact on the upcoming election.

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