Ten days ago, I wrote about the planned leak of RFK Jr.'s big announcement for Oct. 9, which is, of course, today, and the leak indicating that he will indeed run as an Independent.
I noted, being old enough to remember Ross is Boss Perot's hurdles, and living here in Tex-ass, where ballot access petitioning for third parties or independent candidates is tough, that I still thought he would be better off staying independent rather than seeking the Libertarian nod.
There were three main reasons for that, and I've had thoughts further spurred by this and this post at Independent Political Report.
One is that he would just be seeking the Libertarian nomination, without guarantee of getting it. While hardcore Libertarians considered them Libertarian-lite, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr at least reasonably aligned with the LP. RFK has already said he doesn't on some things.
Fracking — and other environmental issues in general — are keystone with him, and of long standing, of longer standing than his antivaxxerism. He'd have to seriously compromise them to run as a Libertarian, and especially with the Mises Types, that wouldn't be enough, while the degree of compromise would certainly earn him the Just.Another.Politician.™ label from me and probably many others. (That said, Beto of Boston has set aside his environmentalism before, for good NIMBY reasons that he was doubling down on five years later.)
The second is that, related to that, I think he'll actually run better as an independent. If he DID get the Libertarian nod, the Mises types would probably stay home. Some might openly undercut him. Plus, there's that "brand" issue.
The third is that, yes, it will be tough, but will it be THAT tough?
He's got the money to pay for compensated petition signing work where it's legal, and the name to attract volunteers where it's not. (More on that in a minute.)
He's also surely got experience, from his time running Waterkeepers, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and other environmental work, about getting initiative-type petitions on the ballot. And, he can also pay for people who will know the by-state calendar and rules.
That said, rules?
Per Ballotpedia, on paying people to get others to sign petitions, it's kind of a mess. Twenty-six states explicitly allow it, nine explicitly ban it, and seventeen, including good old Tex-ass, say nothing one way or the other. (Florida's the biggest "no" state; New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are the three biggest "unclear" states after Tex-ass.)
Here, because of the tight petition window, and it being a "red" state and by spring 2024, many Tex-ass Rethuglicans realizing that RFK Jr. is a bigger threat to Trump (sit down, other candidates) than to Biden, and with Kenny Boy Paxton the corrupt Trumpist AG, if Kennedy tried to challenge that, he's get legally ensnarled six ways from Sunday. But, he might just challenge it elsewhere.
As for the money in getting paid to hold a clipboard? Ballotpedia covers that, too.
Joseph, at the first IPR link, ask if paid signature-gatherers can work more than one petition at a time. I don't know, but suspect the answer is yes.
Finally, again, since I voted in a 2022 primary, I can't sign RFK Jr.'s petition. Even though I won't vote for him, I would sign if I could, though, on general principle.