RFK Jr. cleared to appear on Minnesota presidential ballot

The independent candidate contends that he's reached the threshold required to appear on the debate stage with Trump and Biden.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Legends Event Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Independent candidate for president Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been officially approved to appear on the 2024 presidential ballot in Minnesota, officials with Secretary of State Steve Simon’s office have confirmed.

Field staff for Kennedy’s campaign in Minnesota submitted their ballot petition — which includes the requisite minimum of 2,500 signatures and a list of presidential elector nominees — to the secretary of state on Jun 7. The secretary of state then engaged in a standard review of the signatures and application materials.

“The Nominating Petition for ‘We The People’ presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and vice-presidential candidate Nicole Shanahan was reviewed by our office and determined to be sufficient,” Cassondra Knudson, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state, said Friday. “They will appear on November’s ballot.”

The secretary of state sent a letter to Kennedy’s Minnesota field staff on Friday to confirm that news.

Non-major political party candidates have until 5 p.m. on Aug. 20, 2024 to submit petitions to appear on the Minnesota ballot. No other non-major political party presidential candidate petitions have been submitted to the Minnesota secretary of state, Knudson said Friday.

The Kennedy-Shanahan campaign said earlier this month that with its submission of the ballot petition in Minnesota, RFK Jr. had crossed the threshold of 270 electoral votes represented in ballot access that was required as a condition to appear on the debate stage with President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump this Thursday.

“Our volunteers — led by Mark Frascone and Dr. Drew Dietle — worked hard these past few weeks to ensure the North Star State has an independent option in November,” said Shauna Miller, a field staffer and volunteer coordinator for Kennedy in Minnesota.

On Friday, Dietle, a medical doctor who practices in Minneapolis, held a small concert in solidarity with other RFK Jr. campaign surrogates across the nation rallying to call attention to their frustration with Kennedy not being allowed to participate in the CNN-produced debate this week.

“In New York and also in Atlanta, folks are gathering (in support of Kennedy), so we are also gathering here in Minnesota,” said Dietle, who has been organizing rallies and support for Kennedy in Minnesota. He also celebrated the news that Kennedy will be on the ballot in Minnesota this fall.

Kennedy impact on Trump-Biden in Minnesota

On Monday, the Kennedy campaign announced RFK Jr. will hold a simultaneous debate-style response to Trump and Biden on Thursday as the two major party candidates square off on CNN.

That comes as a handful of recent polls show a tight race between Trump and Biden, one of which reveals that Trump has a slight lead on Biden in Minnesota when Kennedy is included on the ballot.

In a recent Emerson poll, Minnesotans expressed a slight preference for Biden (45.2% to 44.9%) when asked to choose between Trump, Biden, and “Undecided.” When the race included other candidates, such as RFK Jr., Trump polled ahead of Biden (41.6% to 40.9%). Kennedy received support from 6.3% of the respondents.

On Sunday, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz told a news outlet he believes the race between Biden and Trump in Minnesota will “be close.”

“Minnesota is, as you know, we’re a Great Plains state out here,” Walz said during an interview with NewsNation. “We’re an agricultural state, we’ve got a mix of urban and rural, I think we’re a microcosm of America, and I think, as you know, your viewers know, that it’s going to be close.”

Those comments come as several Minnesota media outlets have reported that the Trump campaign is set to open eight field offices across the state in the coming weeks.


Hank Long

Hank Long is a journalism and communications professional whose writing career includes coverage of the Minnesota legislature, city and county governments and the commercial real estate industry. Hank received his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, where he studied journalism, and his law degree at the University of St. Thomas. The Minnesota native lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and four children. His dream is to be around when the Vikings win the Super Bowl.