Robert F. Kennedy Jr. may be a long-shot candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, but he appears to be hauling in the kind of campaign cash that could give President Joe Biden and his re-election efforts some heartburn.
The Kennedy Jr. campaign last Friday announced its first million-dollar day just hours before the close of the critical July quarterly reporting period.
“This week, we sent out an urgent call for support for this campaign, and you answered it in a major way!” a campaign email declared. “Incredibly, we raised an extraordinary $1 million in 24 hours.”
Now, RFK Jr., son of the slain New York U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy and nephew to President John F. Kennedy, is reporting millions of dollars more in campaign contributions.
The vaccine critic and environmental lawyer took in $3 million over a three-day period last week, the campaign said on Thursday. In total, Kennedy Jr.’s campaign said it has raised north of $6 million since the Democrat challenger declared his White House run in April.
“We are hearing again and again that Mr. Kennedy is catching on because the public is fed up with the media smears. People are answering the attacks by opening up their wallets. RFK, Jr. has shown respect for the intelligence of the American people. The more people hear his message, the more he connects,” said Dennis Kucinich, former U.S. Representative from Ohio and the man in charge of Kennedy Jr.’s campaign.
Kennedy Jr., an outspoken critic of COVID vaccines, has been dismissed, disdained and silenced, accused of spreading disinformation by the government, members of the scientific community, and many in the so-called mainstream media. Some of his claims have been discredited, but others have opened up important discussions about the efficacy and the potential dangers posed by the rapidly developed vaccines in the great COVID scare.
Bill Ackman, influential hedge fund chief and billionaire investor, is amplifying the presidential candidate’s anti-vaccine views, according to CNBC.
“I listened to RFK on several podcasts and a town hall and thought he raised important issues about vaccines and other issues that were worth learning more about,” Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square Capital, told CNN this week. “I don’t feel like we’ve fully answered questions about the safety of all vaccines, particularly more recently approved vaccines, and our approach to determining their safety and efficacy.”
But while he’s raising healthy sums of campaign cash, Kennedy Jr. is running a distant second to Biden in fundraising and in the polls.
The incumbent holds a 50 percentage point lead over Kennedy Jr., according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls. Biden is backed by 64 percent of voters surveyed compared to 14.4 percent for Kennedy Jr..
And Jeffrey Katzenberg, a co-chair of Biden’s campaign, told CNN earlier this week that he believes the re-election bid will haul in more than the $1 billion Biden raised in 2020.
Those are big political mountains to climb, even for a wealthy member of arguably America’s most famous political families.
Kucinich said the Kennedy Jr. campaign has faith in the American voter.
“RFK, Jr. has shown respect for the intelligence of the American people. The more people hear his message, the more he connects,” said Kucinich, who ran unsuccessfully in 2004 and 2008 for the Democratic presidential nomination.
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Robert Kennedy Jr.” by Robert Kennedy Jr.