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RFK Jr. misses deadline to join Biden-Trump debate next week

By Thomson Reuters Jun 20, 2024 | 12:04 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Independent U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is unlikely to participate in 2024’s first U.S. presidential debate after missing a deadline to meet criteria set by hosting news organization CNN.

CNN, host of the June 27 debate, previously said only President Joe Biden and Republican rival Donald Trump had met its conditions to take part ahead of a 12 a.m. ET (0400 GMT) Thursday deadline.

The conditions included appearing on enough state ballots to potentially win the presidency and also garnering at least 15% voter support in four separate national polls.

Kennedy had received at least 15% in only three accepted polls to date and, by CNN’s tally, had qualified for the ballot in just six states. That would not be enough to win the presidency.

Neither CNN, a division of Warner Bros Discovery, nor Kennedy’s campaign were immediately available for comment.

Kennedy had argued the TV network’s standards were being applied unfairly and intended to keep him off the stage with candidates who would prefer a one-on-one race.

The Kennedy campaign asked that the Federal Election Commission take action by Thursday and keep CNN, Biden and Trump from holding the June 27 debate unless it makes changes. The FEC declined to comment.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Heather Timmons and Sandra Maler)