RFK Jr. qualifies for California ballot 

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Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has qualified for the ballot in California, his campaign announced Monday.

Kennedy, alongside running mate Nicole Shanahan, was backed by the American Independent Party (AIP) of California, the state with the most electoral college votes in the country. The campaign confirmed it filed paperwork with California’s secretary of state on Monday.

In a five-minute video announcement, Kennedy noted that “ironically” the AIP was initially the party of segregationist and former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, but it “had its own rebirth.”

“It’s been reborn as a party that represents not bigotry and hatred, but rather compassion and unity and idealism and common sense,” Kennedy said. “When they learned about my candidacy, they had just drafted a new charter for their reborn party where they could use their battle line for good for helping independent candidates to unite America without being blocked by the two-party duopoly.”

The Hill reached out to the AIP for further comment.

California marks the third state ballot Kennedy and Shanahan have officially qualified for, following Utah and Michigan. They have also gained enough signatures for ballot access in seven other states, including New Hampshire, Nevada, Hawaii, North Carolina, Idaho, Nebraska and Iowa.

Kennedy, who switched from a Democratic to independent ticket last fall, is looking to appear uniformly on ballots across the map against President Biden and former President Trump. He has repeatedly argued the presumptive party nominees are unfit to continue serving.

Kennedy’s campaign is aiming to gather signatures across 50 states before their deadlines, but experts told The Hill he only needs a handful of key battlegrounds to potentially impact the outcome on Election Day. 

The environmental lawyer is currently polling ahead of other third-party candidates, though his numbers when against Biden and Trump have dropped in a polling aggregation by Decision Desk HQ and The Hill. 

As of Monday, Kennedy had nearly 8.5 percent of the vote, trailing far behind Trump, who had a little more than 42 percent, and Biden, who had nearly 41 percent.

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