A campaign staffer told Mediaite that Kennedy’s campaign will announce his party affiliation switch on Oct. 9 in Pennsylvania. Kennedy’s team will begin launching “attack ads” against the Democratic National Committee ahead of his announcement, escalating the fight between the candidate and the organization.
“Bobby feels that the DNC is changing the rules to exclude his candidacy so an independent run is the only way to go,” the Kennedy campaign insider told Mediaite.
When reached for comment, Kennedy’s campaign pointed to a video released on Friday that announced his Philadelphia rally next month.
Kennedy has blasted the DNC over the last few months for not wanting a “real primary” and turning the rules and presidential primary schedule against him in favor of President Joe Biden.
States that decide to go out of the primary calendar order can see their delegates cut by 50%, and candidates who campaign in the state won’t receive any delegates, according to rules passed by the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee last August.
Not receiving delegates would be detrimental to a Democratic presidential candidate, especially as Biden continues to hold a substantial lead over Kennedy and candidate Marianne Williamson.
“We live in a time when a growing number of Americans think that democracy is broken and that the political system is rigged,” Kennedy said in September. “The DNC’s recent actions confirm this outlook. It will better serve America to run a fair and free primary election.”
Kennedy has reportedly been toying with the idea of running as a third party in recent weeks. He met privately with Angela McArdle, chairwoman of the Libertarian Party, in July, according to the New York Times.
“He emphasized that he was committed to running as a Democrat but said that he considered himself very libertarian,” McArdle said in an interview with the New York Times. “He emphasized that he was committed to running as a Democrat but said that he considered himself very libertarian.”
The idea of a third party run by anyone has Democrats worrying about the fate of the general election. Several Democratic lawmakers have voiced concerns in recent months that support for Green Party contender Cornel West or other third-party candidates could pull enough votes away from Biden to secure a victory for former President Donald Trump.
Democrats and their allies have criticized groups such as No Labels for a unity presidential ticket, claiming it could harm Biden and aid the GOP, something No Labels has adamantly denied.
However, 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reportedly told Biden that he needed to take the third-party threat seriously and find a way to compensate for it. Recent polls have shown that Republicans have a more favorable view of Kennedy than Democrats.