RFK Jr. eliminated in first round of Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination vote

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was quickly eliminated from contention for the Libertarian Party’s nomination Sunday in the first ballot, ending speculation that he could receive the backing of a major third party before the November election.

Kennedy received support from just 19 delegates, about 2 percent of the vote, during the party’s nominating process at its Washington convention. He addressed the convention Friday, despite saying last month he didn’t intend to seek the party’s nomination.

The delegate who nominated Kennedy from the floor Sunday was met with loud boos from the crowd.

Kennedy used his Friday speech to spar with former President Trump, who also made an appearance at the convention a day later.

“I think he had the right instinct when he came into office,” Kennedy said of Trump. “He was initially very reluctant to impose lockdowns, but then he got rolled by his bureaucrats. He caved in, and many of our most fundamental rights disappeared practically overnight.”

“President Trump allowed his health regulators to mandate science-free social distancing, which undermined our First Amendment rights to freedom of assembly. We could no longer peacefully gather,” he later added.

Trump drew a worse result in the nomination process, garnering only two write-in votes despite a speech that repeatedly urged Libertarians to nominate him. He was forced into a write-in campaign after the party deemed him ineligible for not filing the correct paperwork.

In a shot against Trump, one delegate wrote in adult film actor Stormy Daniels, who is at the center of the criminal hush money trial against the former president. That case is expected to be decided by a jury this week.

Kennedy has raised a strong profile among centrists, selling himself as an anti-establishment figure suspicious of the traditions of government. Though Kennedy is widely seen as a long-shot contender against Trump and President Biden, recent polling has suggested he could be a spoiler for Trump in November.

The ex-Democrat has about 8 percent support in The Hill/Decision Desk HQ average of polls, where Trump leads Biden by just more than 1 percent.

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