RFK Jr. and allies challenge two-party system in North Carolina elections

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is still campaigning for president in the 2024 election, but he’s now running under the We The People political party in North Carolina, a move that could help get his name on the ballot this November.

Formerly a Democrat turned unaffiliated, Kennedy is required to obtain the standard 83,000 signatures as an independent candidate in the state. But by affiliating with a political party, that requirement can be avoided. The newly-formed We The People party, created by RFK allies, could get him ballot access with only 13,865 signatures, WRAL first reported. 

The We The People party has submitted a petition request form with the State Board of Elections to become a recognized political party. The petition must be signed by at least 200 registered voters from at least three separate congressional districts in the state. If the party meets the requirements by the end of May, Kennedy can secure his name on the ballot.

“Mr. Kennedy will be on the ballot in North Carolina,” Stefanie Spear, press secretary for his campaign, affirmed to the Carolina Journal. “We are working to collect the 13,757 signatures needed to form the “We The People” party. The deadline to turn in these signatures is May 31.”

Spear said the campaign is prepared with field teams, volunteers, legal teams, paid circulators, supporters, and strategists who are “ready to get the job done.”

A new poll from Quinnipiac finds that Kennedy carries 15% of nationwide support for president when up against Trump and Biden. The poll shows Biden and Trump – the presumable GOP nominee – neck and neck for the White House at 38% and 37% respectively. Notably, Kennedy holds an equal amount of support from both Republican and Democrat respondents.

Last August, the State Board of Elections recognized the group “No Labels” as an official political party after it surpassed the 13,865 signature requirement. No Labels has ballot access in at least 10 states and seeks to unite Americans with ‘common sense solutions.’ About 7,600 North Carolinians are currently registered under the party.

Just weeks ago, Kennedy revealed he was considering running as a Libertarian in order to obtain ballot access more easily. The Libertarian Party, known for its opposition to government interference in individuals’ daily lives, is another third-party group that supports growing voters’ options past two distinct party affiliations.

“The LPNC welcomes all candidates and political parties in North Carolina,” said communications director of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina Rob Yates. “We helped the Green Party gain ballot access a couple years ago, and we are equally committed to helping the Forward Party, the Veteran’s Party, and the We The People Party gain access as we are able to provide assistance.”

He said that several third-party groups tabled at the LP convention this past weekend in Clemmons, North Carolina. The group was pleased to see others participating in the process of trying to “crack through the protective walls the uniparty has built around elections.”

Data suggests some North Carolinians have an interest in third-party candidates, but turnout for third-party candidates resulted in minimal support. Following the 2020 presidential election, the Green Party and the Constitution Party’s recognition as political parties in North Carolina was revoked after both failed to garner 2% of the vote. 

“Almost two thirds of North Carolinians said that they would favor a third party to represent them,” said David McLennan, professor of political science at Meredith College and the director of a recent Meredith Poll. “We don’t see people voting for third parties at near that level. In North Carolina, we’ve had various third party candidates…rarely do these candidates get more than four to five percent of the vote. So that dissatisfaction that we’re seeing in polling and the interest in third parties, my view is it’s really what they want is the parties, I’m talking about Democratic and Republican parties, to reform themselves. They’re not really interested in third parties.” 

He noted that the level of dissatisfaction with the direction of the country is near record levels, anticipating both political parties will use the discontent to blame the other party. 

“This promises to be one of the most negative political campaign years in history,” he said. 

Several other third parties have submitted petition request forms for 2024, including the Constitution Party, the North Carolina Forward Party, the American Political Party, the Veterans Party of North Carolina, and the American Platform Party.

The post RFK Jr. and allies challenge two-party system in North Carolina elections first appeared on Carolina Journal.


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