Robert F. Kennedy Jr. chooses Utah as first state to file his candidacy

Jan 3, 2024, 1:41 PM | Updated: 2:31 pm

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks during a press conference at the Ea...

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks during a press conference at the East Senate Building at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. Kennedy announced his ballot status in Utah, the first state where the campaign submitted signatures. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — On Wednesday morning, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an independent presidential candidate, chose Utah as the first state to file his candidacy.

While speaking to supporters at the Utah Capitol, Kennedy focused on the battle to get his name on the ballot in every other state.

“President Biden and President Trump are getting on the ballot for free,” Kennedy told the Utah crowd. “It’s going to cost us somewhere around $15 million to get on the ballot, but we’re going to be able to do it. And in the end, we’re going to have an army in the field of very, very capable people.”

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump currently lead a field of Democrats and Republicans vying for the White House.

Kennedy told supporters that they still have to get on the ballot in 49 more states.

“I want to beat President Trump. But I want to beat him fair and square in an election where everybody gets to vote for who they want to vote for,” Kennedy said to the Utah crowd.

Kennedy is running as an independent, after leaving the Democratic party last year.

To accommodate Kennedy’s legal complaint, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson changed the deadline for independent candidates to file.

Changes to Utah election laws made during the 2022 legislative session moved the filing deadline for partisan candidates from August 15 to Jan. 8. The deadline for independent candidates was moved up to January. 

After Kennedy’s lawsuit was filed, Henderson changed the partisan deadline to March 5.

This year’s primary elections in Utah are on June 25. Election Day is Nov. 5.

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. chooses Utah as first state to file his candidacy