RFK Jr. Could Qualify for CNN Debate with Trump and Biden, but Faces Uphill Battle

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Independent Robert F. Kennedy can qualify for the June presidential debate if he meets certain requirements that former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden will easily satisfy.

To qualify for the June 27 CNN debate, candidates must meet multiple requirements. For starters, they must “appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold,” the network notes.

While Trump and Biden will easily meet this requirement as the presumptive nominees of the two major parties, the Kennedy campaign is still working to gain ballot access in all 50 states.

CNN notes that he has made the ballot in five states, while his campaign website states that he has completed petitioning in 14 states thus far.

Second, the candidates must earn at least 15 percent in four national polls recognized by CNN. The respondents in these polls must be likely voters or registered voters.

CNN notes:

Polls that meet those standards are those sponsored by CNN, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, Marquette University Law School, Monmouth University, NBC News, The New York Times/Siena College, NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College, Quinnipiac University, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post

Other third-party candidates, like the Green Party’s Jill Stein and independent Cornel West, are eligible to qualify, too, though Kennedy is the only one with a realistic chance. In the RealClearPolling average as of Thursday, Trump registered at 41.5 percent, Biden followed at 38.8 percent, and Kennedy garnered 10.8 percent. West and Stein averaged around two percent.

WATCH — Conservatives BEWARE: Watch the Crazy Leftist Statements RFK Jr. Has Made

Despite still facing an uphill climb regarding polling requirements, Kennedy expressed optimism Wednesday about making the debate stage, though he also claimed Biden and Trump were working to “exclude” him.

“I’m happy to report that I will meet the criteria to participate in the @CNN debate before the June 20 deadline,” Kennedy wrote in a post on X.

“I look forward to holding Presidents Biden and Trump accountable for their records in Atlanta on June 27 to give Americans the debate they deserve,” he added.

Dana Bash and Jake Tapper are set to moderate the debate. Trump and Biden also agreed on Wednesday to a September 10 ABC News debate.


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