POLITICS & ELECTIONS

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. fails to qualify for CNN’s debate

Jun 20, 2024, 3:24 PM

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. apologized to members of his family who objected to a new TV ad released Sund...

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. apologized to members of his family who objected to a new TV ad released Sunday during the Super Bowl. Kennedy is pictured here in October 2023. (Eva Marie Uzcategui, Getty Images)

(Eva Marie Uzcategui, Getty Images)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has failed to qualify for next week’s debate in Atlanta, according to host network CNN, falling shy of benchmarks both for state ballot qualification and necessary polling.

The missed markers mean that the June 27 showdown will be solely between Democratic President Joe Biden and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. That denies Kennedy a singular opportunity to stand alongside the leading candidates in an attempt to lend legitimacy to his longshot bid and convince potential supporters that he has a shot at winning.

In a statement Thursday, Kennedy called his exclusion from the debate “undemocratic, un-American, and cowardly.”

Both the Biden and Trump campaigns fear that Kennedy could play spoiler in what’s anticipated to be a close general election.

Trump campaign sees RFK Jr. as a political problem

According to the criteria set out by CNN, candidates would be invited to participate in the debate if they had secured a place on the ballot in states totaling at least 270 votes in the Electoral College, the minimum needed to win the presidency.

Biden and Trump have easily cleared the polling threshold but won’t be certified for the ballot until their parties formally nominate them later this summer. Both have secured enough delegates to lock in their nominations.

Kennedy’s campaign says he has satisfied the requirements to appear on the ballot in 22 states, with a combined 310 electoral votes, though not all have affirmed his name will be listed. California, the largest prize on the electoral map with 54 votes, will not certify any candidates until Aug. 29.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. qualifies for presidential ballot in Utah, the first state to grant him access

Candidates were also required to reach a polling threshold of 15% in four reliable national polls by June 20, another metric CNN said Kennedy failed to meet. According to the network, Kennedy has received at least 15% in three qualifying polls so far and is currently on the ballot in six states, making him currently eligible for 89 Electoral College votes.

Last month, Kennedy filed an election complaint alleging CNN is colluding with Biden and Trump to exclude him from the June 27 debate, alleging that the participation requirements were designed to ensure only Biden and Trump would qualify and claiming that he is being held to a higher standard.

CNN has said the complaint is without merit. Kennedy’s campaign did not immediately respond to a message Thursday seeking comment on CNN’s announcement and asking if he planned to take any further action about his exclusion.

Poll: Trump leads big among Utah voters; Biden, Kennedy tied

Last month, Biden and Trump agreed to the CNN debate and a second on Sept. 10 hosted by ABC, bypassing the nonpartisan commission that has organized debates for nearly four decades.

After winning a coin toss, Biden’s campaign chose the right podium position, meaning that he will be on the right side of viewers’ screens, with Trump on the left, according to CNN. Trump’s campaign then opted to deliver his closing statement after Biden.

Both campaigns have agreed to appear at podiums, and microphones will be muted except for the candidate whose turn it is to speak.

___

Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

KSL 5 TV Live

Politics & Elections

Sen. Bob Menendez, pictured leaving Manhattan federal court on July 16, will resign his seat effect...

Laura Dolan, Lauren Fox and Clare Foran, CNN

Bob Menendez will resign his US Senate seat effective August 20

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey will resign his seat effective August 20, according to a copy of his resignation letter obtained by CNN.

19 hours ago

A voter submits their ballot during primary election voting in Provo on June 25. Lt. Gov. Deidre He...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Lieutenant governor certifies results from Utah’s June primary elections

Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson certified the statewide June 25 primary election Monday.

22 hours ago

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a nationally televised address from the Oval Office of the White ...

Aamer Madhani

Biden will address the nation Wednesday on his decision to drop his 2024 Democratic reelection bid

President Joe Biden will address the nation from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening on his decision to drop his 2024 Democratic reelection bid.

24 hours ago

Kimberly Cheatle, Director, U.S. Secret Service, testifies during a House Committee on Oversight an...

Colleen Long

Secret Service director steps down after assassination attempt against ex-President Trump at rally

The director of the Secret Service is stepping down from her job following the assassination attempt against former President Donald Trump.

1 day ago

(Harris delegates)...

Ethan Cohen, Molly English, Matt Holt and Sydney Topf, CNN

Harris secures enough delegate endorsements to clinch Democratic nomination

Kamala Harris has the support of enough Democratic delegates to win the party’s nomination for president, according to CNN’s delegate estimate.

2 days ago

Utah's democratic delegates will meet this week to talk about how they will pick the party's next n...

Shelby Lofton

Utah democratic delegates announce endorsement for Harris as path to naming a nominee changes

All of the Utah democratic delegates present at a meeting Monday voted in favor of endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris. 

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. fails to qualify for CNN’s debate