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RFK Jr. will appear on Hawaii ballot, third state to include him

By Aaron Pellish, CNN

(CNN) — Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will appear on Hawaii’s presidential ballot following a Friday ruling that blocked an effort by Hawaii Democrats to disqualify his campaign’s ballot access petition.

Hawaii marks the third state where Kennedy has officially qualified for ballot access. He gained ballot access in Michigan, a key battleground state, earlier this week after qualifying for Utah’s ballot earlier this year.

The ruling, issued by hearings officer Aaron Schulaner, said an objection filed by the Democratic Party of Hawaii “did not meet its burden of proof in this case” and the Kennedy campaign’s We the People Party – a minor party the campaign established to circumvent ballot access requirements – will be allowed to appear on Hawaii’s ballot in November.

A spokesperson for the Hawaii Office of Elections confirmed to CNN that Friday’s ruling means Kennedy will appear on the state’s ballot. The Kennedy campaign and the Democratic Party of Hawaii did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii’s objection centered on the validity of the We the People Party’s internal organization. Hawaii Democrats accused the Kennedy-aligned party of violating its own bylaws and Hawaii state laws by listing as part of its leadership people who had been previously registered as Democrats and people who weren’t registered voters.

Kennedy’s campaign has said he’s gained enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Nebraska, Idaho and Iowa. A super PAC backing Kennedy has said it has collected enough signatures to put Kennedy on the ballot in Georgia, Arizona and South Carolina.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii’s failed effort to block Kennedy’s ballot access petition is part of a broader opposition to Kennedy’s candidacy from Democrats nationally. The Democratic National Committee has filed multiple Federal Elections Commission complaints against the Kennedy campaign and its allies, and Democrats have frequently run advertisements attempting to paint Kennedy as a spoiler candidate who will help former President Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee.

Kennedy’s team has pushed back on Democrats’ messaging, previously telling CNN that donors “from across the political spectrum are supporting the Kennedy campaign as they are tired of the corruption in the two-party system.”

“Instead, donors want an independent candidate who will heal the divide, restore the middle class, end the forever wars, unravel corporate capture, and the end chronic disease epidemic,” Kennedy campaign spokeswoman Stefanie Spear said in a February statement.

Kennedy, 70, initially launched his presidential campaign as a Democrat challenging Biden in the primary last year, before pivoting to run as an independent in October. Last month, he announced attorney Nicole Shanahan, 38, as his vice presidential nominee at a campaign rally in Oakland, California.

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