With this filing to the Federal Election Commission, which CNN reported to be confirmed by Kennedy’s campaign treasurer, John E. Sullivan, the 69-year-old is seeking office as a Democrat.
Kennedy is the son of Robert F. Kennedy, a former U.S. attorney general and U.S. senator who was assassinated in 1968 as he ran for president. He teased a 2024 campaign on Twitter last month, asking people to visit his website and contribute.
“If it looks like I can raise the money and mobilize enough people to win, I’ll jump in the race. If I run, my top priority will be to end the corrupt,” Kennedy said at the time.
Kennedy earned a reputation as an environmental lawyer and a best-selling author, but in recent years has garnered attention for his stance against vaccines.
He founded a nonprofit organization called the Children’s Health Defense, which on its website shares its vision for a “world free of childhood chronic health conditions caused by environmental exposures.”
During the pandemic, Kennedy shared concerns about COVID vaccines, including the suspicion that the death of baseball star Hank Aaron may have been tied to the vaccine. A medical examiner determined Aaron died of natural causes at the age of 86.
Such skepticism by Kennedy and his group has led to bans on social media platforms and backlash.
Kennedy made headlines in 2022 for his comments at an anti-vaccine rally where he accused the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, of orchestrating “fascism.” Kennedy later apologized for invoking Anne Frank and the Holocaust at that same event and his wife, actress Cheryl Hines, called the comments “reprehensible and insensitive.”
Kennedy’s siblings, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Joseph P. Kennedy, and his niece, Maeve Kennedy McKean, wrote an op-ed published in POLITICO in 2019 asking the public to disregard his commentary on vaccines. “We love Robert F. Kennedy Jr., but he is part of a misinformation campaign that’s having heartbreaking — and deadly — consequences,” they wrote.
As a candidate, Kennedy joins self-help author Marianne Williamson in formally entering the Democratic primary field. President Joe Biden has said he intends to seek another term, but has yet to make a bid official.
On the Republican side, former President Donald Trump is seeking another term. Former South Carolina Governor and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson have also entered the 2024 race for the GOP presidential nomination. Others who may join the contest include former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.