Environmental lawyer and 2024 presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Friday teased a “major announcement” in upcoming weeks amid speculation he is considering dropping his bid to primary President Joe Biden as a Democrat and instead running for president as an independent or on a third-party ticket.
“I want to tell you now what I’ve come to understand after six months of campaigning: There is a path to victory,” Kennedy said in a video announcing an October 9 event in Philadelphia. “We all recognize that there’s a genuine possibility of national transformation and its source is the goodness in the American people.”
News of the upcoming event, first reported by Mediaite, comes as the super PAC supporting Kennedy’s presidential bid has conducted national polling to gauge his viability in a hypothetical three-person race against Biden and former President Donald Trump, a person familiar with the polling told CNN.
In the two-minute video announcing the event – which was shared with CNN in response to questions about the possibility of Kennedy running as an independent – the presidential candidate criticized corruption in government and on both sides of the aisle. He also called out the “established Washington interests” and said his campaign will “change the habits of American politics.”
“I understand that deeply felt concern that people have about the way corruption has overtaken our government. It’s in the executive branch. It’s in Congress. It’s in the leadership of both political parties,” he added.
In July, Kennedy, an anti-vaccine activist, met Libertarian Party Chair Angela McArdle at an event in Tennessee. They discussed their shared beliefs, including around vaccine mandates and pandemic-era shutdowns, and the two have been in touch since, McArdle told CNN Friday. She said she has not received a commitment from Kennedy to run as a Libertarian Party candidate.
“I haven’t heard anything official or unofficial about him switching,” McArdle told CNN.
The New York Times first reported the meeting between Kennedy and McArdle.
Kennedy, who is the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy and son of assassinated 1968 presidential candidate and former US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, has run a controversial campaign that has sought to be a thorn in Biden and the Democratic Party’s side.
Since launching his bid to primary Biden in April, Kennedy’s campaign has failed to gain traction with Democrats despite polling indicating they are open to supporting alternatives to Biden. In a recent CNN poll of Democratic-aligned voters around the country, just 1% of those surveyed who said they want Democrats to nominate someone other than Biden named Kennedy as the person they’d like to see win the nomination.
Kennedy’s campaign has also failed to gain traction with New Hampshire Democrats, despite making the Democratic Party’s proposal to reorganize the primary calendar and demote the Granite State from its first-in-the-nation primary status a centerpiece of his effort to win supporters in the state. A CNN/University of New Hampshire poll of likely Democratic primary voters released last week showed Kennedy with 9% support compared with 78% support for Biden.
At campaign events in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Kennedy has attracted support from voters of both parties who are drawn to his views on Covid-19 and the coronavirus vaccine. A longtime vaccine skeptic, Kennedy founded the Children’s Health Defense, an organization that promotes discredited claims linking vaccines to autism, and has frequently promoted vaccine skepticism on the campaign trail. At campaign events, he also frequently criticizes corruption in both political parties and by private corporations and asset management firms, painting himself as an outsider candidate who can root out corruption in all forms.