Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will be on the ballot in Michigan - TAI News
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Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks to supporters during a campaign event, Saturday, April 13, 2024, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will appear on the general election ballot in Michigan this fall.

Kennedy’s campaign announced on April 18 that Kennedy and his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, had been nominated by the Natural Law Party for president and vice president in Michigan. A spokeswoman for the Michigan secretary of state’s office confirmed to the Detroit Free Press that Kennedy would be on the ballot in November.

In a press release, Natural Law Party Chairman Doug Dern called Kennedy “the most qualified candidate in the modern-day history of America.”

Kennedy, an environmental lawyer, launched an independent presidential campaign in October after initially challenging President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination. The son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of  the late President John F. Kennedy,  the younger Kennedy had long identified as a Democrat, but has established relationships with far-right figures such as commentator Jordan Peterson and Sandy Hook denialist Alex Jones.

Kennedy’s remarks in numerous media appearances during his campaign have been rife with conspiracy theories, including false statements about vaccines causing autism and chemicals in the water supply causing children to become transgender.

It’s been an uphill battle for Kennedy and his team to get him on the presidential ballot in all 50 states. Michigan is only the third state as of April 23 in which Kennedy has officially secured ballot access, according to his campaign. He hosted his first campaign event in Michigan, a comedy show in Royal Oak, on April 21.

While the Natural Law Party nomination gives Kennedy an official spot on the Michigan ballot, it also gives the minor party a high-profile figure to lead it in this election season. It is one of five minor parties that have qualified to appear on the ballot, along with the Libertarian, U.S. Taxpayers, Green, and Working Class parties.

The national Natural Law Party was founded in 1992 to “bring the light of science into politics,” according to its website. The party’s platform is rooted in using Transcendental Meditation, a silent meditation created by the late Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, as a way to handle political problems. The national party dissolved in 2004, but a state party has continued to operate in Michigan.

In 2020, the Natural Law Party presidential nominee, Rocky De La Fuente, received fewer than 3,000 votes, or 0.05% of the total vote in Michigan.

Although it’s unlikely an independent candidate would gain the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, Kennedy poses a threat to both President Biden’s and former President Donald Trump’s reelection prospects if he siphons votes from them in swing states such as Michigan. Democratic-aligned groups have been working to challenge Kennedy’s attempts to gain ballot access.

Members of Kennedy’s family have also pushed back against his candidacy, using their influence to generate support for Biden and appearing alongside him at a campaign event in Pennsylvania this month.

“He has us thriving again, believing again, behaving like good neighbors again,” said Kennedy’s sister Kerry, the New York Times reported. “Nearly every single grandchild of Joe and Rose Kennedy supports Joe Biden. That’s right, the Kennedy family endorses Joe Biden for president.”

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The Michigan Independent is a project of American Independent Media, a 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to use journalism to educate the public, giving them the information they need about local and federal issues.