BOSTON, MA. – Environmental lawyer and vaccine advocate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. formally launched a 2024 Democratic presidential primary challenge against President Biden on Wednesday.
Kennedy, son of the late senator, attorney general and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy, declared his candidacy for the White House at a campaign launch event at a downtown hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. .
“I have come here today to announce my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States,” Kennedy said after taking the stage. “My mission over the next 18 months of this campaign, and throughout my presidency, will be to end the corrupt fusion of state and corporate power that now threatens to impose a new kind of corporate feudalism on our country,” Kennedy said. .
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The announcement comes nearly two weeks after Kennedy’s political representatives filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to begin setting up the campaign.
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Kennedy becomes the second nationally known Democrat to launch a long-term primary challenge against the president. Marianne Williamson, the best-selling author and spiritual counselor, launched her second straight campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination last month and has been campaigning in New Hampshire, South Carolina and other early voting states.
Biden, whose approval ratings among all Americans remain in negative territory, has repeatedly said he intends to seek a second term in the White House, but has yet to make a formal announcement. He told reporters last weekend that an announcement would come “relatively soon.”
When he jumped into the race, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University national poll suggested that 14 percent of voters who supported Biden in 2020 would support Kennedy in 2024.
According to the poll, which was conducted Sunday through Tuesday, two-thirds of Biden’s 2020 supporters said they would support the president again for the Democratic nomination, with Kennedy at 14 percent, Williamson at 5 percent and 13 % undecided.
Kennedy has faced criticism from fellow Democrats for his anti-COVID-19 vaccine activism, and his emerging role in recent years as a crusader for individual liberties has made him an increasingly popular figure in the political right.
Although Kennedy insists that he is not opposed to vaccines and that his only interest is in making them safer, his non-profit organization Children’s Health Defense has been accused of spreading doubts about the safety of vaccines.
Kennedy’s notoriety on the issue is one of the main reasons why most of the leading figures in his famous political family were absent from his campaign launch.
The ballroom at Boston’s Park Plaza Hotel, where Kennedy made the announcement, was packed. Fox News witnessed a standing-room-only crowd, with an overflow room full. Kennedy’s campaign said “thousands of people” were in attendance.
Brian Dignan, a registered independent from New York state, told Fox News: “I’m absolutely rooting for him. I have one word for why I’m voting for this man, and that’s courage.”
“Bobby Kennedy has it. He has courage. And he has shown that courage throughout his career,” added Dignan. “And the fact that he’s running in light of his whole family’s history is tremendously brave. And I think the entire Kenney family has shown that courage over the years.”
Pamela San Clemente, a resident of central Massachusetts who described herself as an independent conservative, said: “I’m here because I really admire his work with medical freedom, with freedom in general. With constitutional issues.. . this push towards globalism that is anti-sovereignty. .”
“I feel like he’s a person who highlights all of these issues and I just want to learn more about his candidacy because I really admire what he’s done on issues that are important to me,” he added.
Kennedy sparked speculation about a possible White House call early last month when he visited New Hampshire, which for a century has held the first primary in the race for the presidential nomination. He was joined on his trip to New Hampshire by his wife, actress Cheryl Hines, best known for playing Larry David’s wife on his popular HBO comedy series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
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Kennedy earlier this year took aim at Biden and the Democratic National Committee for the decision to knock New Hampshire’s presidential primary out of first place in the nation’s primaries. New Hampshire will now vote second on the DNC schedule, along with Nevada, three days after South Carolina under the new DNC schedule.
Before the DNC’s final approval of the calendar in early February, Kennedy wrote an open letter to the committee, urging members to keep New Hampshire first because of the state’s long history of championing civil rights and electoral transparency.
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The DNC changed the nominating schedule in an effort to reflect more diversity in the Democratic Party, but Kennedy said New Hampshire already showcases the diversity of the United States. As a general election battleground state, Kennedy said, New Hampshire’s “four electoral votes could decide the 2024 election.”
Kennedy, is being helped in his campaign by former Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, who made unsuccessful bids from the left for the party’s presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008.
Experts see Kennedy and Williamson as long shots for the 2024 nomination against Biden. But since the president will likely stay off the ballot in New Hampshire to avoid a nonsanctioned primary, Kennedy and Williamson will garner plenty of national media attention and could create some mischief in the race for the Democratic nomination.