Robert F. Kennedy Jr. gathers hundreds in Iowa for November ballot access.

Iowa —West Des Moines Robert F. Kennedy Jr. launched a one-day campaign Saturday to get on Iowa's presidential ballot as an independent. Whether he succeeded is unknown. Kennedy tried to qualify by holding a convention with 500 Iowa voters from 25 counties. Chair Dave Owen said Saturday that 686 delegates from more than 35 Iowa counties were in attendance, but the numbers were unverifiable.  

Kennedy and his friends are trying to get on the ballot in all 50 states, which has scared President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump about losing enough votes to win. Only Utah has certified his ballot eligibility. Before Saturday's event, the Iowa secretary of state's office acknowledged that the Kennedy campaign had contacted them and provided this year's candidate guide.  

Saturday, campaign staffers made statements over the speakers as people entered a music club. At 2:36 p.m., 300 persons were reported. Central; 400 20 minutes later. A staffer announced they exceeded 500 persons at 3:08 p.m. Kennedy attracted loyal supporters and those frustrated by the 2020 election rerun, as he has at prior campaign rallies.  

Jeremy Youngers of Waukee, Iowa, dislikes Biden and Trump. Youngers was pleased when Kennedy declared his campaign after years of listening to his show and other podcasts. “This is an opportunity that we have to really make a difference,” the 42-year-old told his wife and two children.  

Kristy Tierney, 45, drove 180 miles (280 kilometers) from eastern Iowa to let voters have another alternative in November. “All they need is 500 people to show up here to get Bobby on the ballot,” Bettendorf resident remarked. I thought, "I can drive a couple hours to make that happen.  

Tierney is tired with the two-party system and voting against candidates. “I haven’t decided,” she added of her November presidential choice, “but I just think it’s important to have another option.”  

Kennedy is the nephew of President John F. Kennedy and son of former attorney general and senator Robert F. Kennedy. His uncle and father were killed. Since then, he has become a prominent environmental activist, author, and lawyer. His campaigning has strayed into conspiracy and undermined vaccine science. Family members have publicly opposed his ideas.  

Kennedy and Nicole Shanahan left the Democratic Party to run for president independently. Kennedy is using his fame to offer an alternative to the underperforming major-party candidates, albeit no independent candidate has won the Electoral College in decades. He ascended the stage to applause and cheers from a standing throng and quickly addressed how his campaign and his supporters have been ignored.  

“If you want more of the same, you should vote for them,” Kennedy said of Biden and Trump. “Who wants more of the same?” The crowd said “no”.  

Kennedy's anti-vaccine outfit is suing many news media, including The Associated Press, for breaking antitrust laws by identifying disinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines. Kennedy left the group after announcing his presidential bid but is identified as one of its attorneys in the lawsuit.

Charlson identified as Republican and Democratic. She was “appalled” when the Biden administration discussed vaccine mandates during the COVID-19 epidemic because she eats organic and chooses her food. She said she was “on the same side as people that wanted freedom for guns,” which she doesn't believe.  

West Des Moines resident Charlson, 58, said Kennedy is the best of both worlds. “I believe what he says.” Republicans and Democrats have criticized Kennedy, worried that he could poison Biden or Trump's campaign. Friday, Iowa Republicans called Kennedy a “distraction.” “He’s peddling his toxic conspiracy theories instead of speaking to the problems facing Americans caused by the Biden Administration,” chairman Jeff Kaufmann said. “Iowans want solutions, not distractions.”  

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