Democrat presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will exit the Democrat party and run for president as an Independent, Mediaite reported Friday.
Kennedy plans to announce his independent candidacy on October 9 in Pennsylvania, according to a text reviewed by Mediaite. Kennedy’s campaign also plans to launch “attack ads” against the Democrat National Committee (DNC) to “pave the way” for his announcement.
A Kennedy campaign insider told the outlet that Kennedy “feels that the DNC is changing the rules to exclude his candidacy, so an independent run is the only way to go.”
The insider’s comments align with remarks Kennedy made publicly earlier this month. Kennedy claimed the DNC is “trying to make sure that I can’t participate at all in the political process, and so I’m going to keep all my options open,” when a South Carolina voter questioned him about the possibility of a third-party run as an independent.
Kennedy confirmed a he will make a “major announcement” in Philadelphia on October 9 in a video statement posted online Friday.
“I’m going to be in Philadelphia on October 9, to make a major announcement at the very birthplace of our nation,” Kennedy said. “I’m not going to tell you right now, exactly what that announcement will be. I can say, though, that if you’ve been waiting to come to one of my public events, this will be the one to come to.”
He explained he would share his “path to the White House and how we can all participate in healing our nation.”
“So how are we going to win against the established Washington interest? It’s not through playing the game by the corrupt rules that the corrupt powers and the vested interests have rigged to keep us all in their thrall,” Kennedy added. “Instead, we’re gonna have to rewrite the assumptions and change the habits of American politics.”
President Joe Biden has a large polling advantage over Kennedy, but Kennedy has surged in early primary states like South Carolina. However, Democrat operatives are fearful that an independent run by Kennedy would siphon votes away from Biden’s base.
Matt Bennett, cofounder of Third Way, a Democrat group trying to prevent a third-party ticket, said it “would be very bad” if Kennedy ran as a third-party candidate.
“We’ve been very clear that third parties in close elections can be very dangerous and would almost certainly hurt the president,” Bennett told the New York Times. “That would be true of a No Labels candidate and it would be true of RFK.”
The New York Times recently revealed that Kennedy met with Libertarian Party chair Angela McArdle in July while the two attended a political conference in Memphis. Kennedy “emphasized that he was committed to running as a Democrat but said that he considered himself very libertarian,” McArdle told the Times.
She said the two were “aligned on a lot of issues,” including the threat posed by the “deep state.”
“My perspective is that we are going to stay in touch in case he does decide to run,” McArdle said. “And he can contact me at any time if that’s the case.”