Robert F. Kennedy Jr. holds campaign events in Phoenix as he gathers signatures to appear on the Arizona ballot.


According to Arizona Secretary of State data, more Arizonans are registered as independents than Republicans or Democrats. That’s the block Kennedy wants.


PHOENIX — Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democrat-turned-independent presidential candidate, held a campaign rally in Phoenix Wednesday night.


He spoke to hundreds of voters at the Legends Event Center near 43rd Avenue and Camelback.

Some voters said they were unsatisfied with President Biden or former President Trump and wanted a choice.

“I’m always looking for a left-of-center, intelligent candidate, and he seems to be that,” said Mariee Hayden of Phoenix. “Always pro-choice, but I’m interested in learning what he has to offer in general.”

“I would just kind of like to see Robert Kennedy’s position on a couple of things.” Jakob Polgar of Montana was visiting Phoenix for the holidays.

Others were intrigued by Kennedy because of his family’s political legacy.

“I worked on his dad’s campaign. I was 14 at the time. Went door to door putting advertisements on the door,” said Mark McCullers of Phoenix. “He’s got good ideas. He’s very similar to what his dad and uncle stood for, which is lacking nowadays.”

Lisette Valenzuela of Phoenix said she doesn’t align with the Democrat or Republican parties.

“I’m tired of having to choose between the lesser of two evils,” Valenzuela said.

Kennedy believes he can win Arizona’s independent voting bloc.

“They like the message to end the vitriol, to end the poison and the polarization and to start focusing on the values we have in common,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy is currently collecting signatures, vying for a spot on Arizona’s ballot. He needs signatures from three percent of Arizona’s registered voters by August 2024.

Arizona’s independent vote

According to Arizona Secretary of State data, more Arizonans are registered independents than Republicans or Democrats.

Thom Reilly, a professor at ASU’s School of Public Affairs, said from summer through mid-November, 57 percent of all new registered voters were independent.

But Reilly notes the independent vote can be unpredictable, and in previous elections, the majority has often flipped back and forth from Republican to Democrat.

“Just because someone identifies as unaffiliated, it doesn’t mean they’re going to support a third-party candidate,” Reilly said. “But taking them for granted, you know, the fact that they supported Democrats last time that they’re going to do so this time, history has not shown that to be the case.”



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