RFK Jr. qualifies for battleground North Carolina's general election ballot

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has qualified for North Carolina's general election ballot after collecting more than 23,000 signatures in the battleground state, his campaign announced Monday. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI

April 1 (UPI) -- Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has qualified for North Carolina's general election ballot after collecting nearly double the number of signatures needed for an independent candidate, his campaign announced Monday.

Kennedy's campaign, which is running under the "We The People" party, gathered more than 23,000 signatures in the battleground state, far surpassing the 13,865 signatures needed to qualify.

North Carolina would become the largest state, once signatures are validated by elections officials, where Kennedy has qualified. He is already on the ballot in Utah and has collected the required signatures in New Hampshire, Nevada and Hawaii.

While North Carolina is the fifth state to put Kennedy on the ballot, his campaign said it is "actively collecting signatures in 16 states" with "19 additional states opened for petitioning" since last week's running mate announcement.

"Kennedy-Shanahan will be on the ballot in all 50 states + District of Columbia," Kennedy's campaign press secretary Stefanie Spear wrote Monday in a post on X. "We have the field teams, volunteers, legal teams, paid circulators, supporters and strategists ready to get the job done."

Last week, Kennedy announced attorney and tech entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan as his vice presidential running mate, saying she "shares my indignation of big tech," as well as his disdain for "information warfare that our government is currently waging against the American people."

In October, Kennedy announced he was leaving the Democratic Party to continue his 2024 presidential run as an independent. The nephew of John F. Kennedy originally announced his run a year ago, as a Democrat to challenge President Joe Biden.

"This country is ready for a history-making change. They are ready to reclaim their freedom, their independence," Kennedy said in October.

Kennedy is running on a platform to reclaim U.S. independence from big corporations that he says have taken control of our government, including Big Tech, Big Pharma, as well as the Democratic and Republican parties.

"Like the Founding Fathers declared their independence from the crown more than two centuries ago," Kennedy told a crowd on Oct. 9, "today we declare our independence from the corrupting influence of Wall Street and corporate donors that have rigged our economy for the few at the expense of the many."

North Carolina is considered a battleground state, as it was the fifth-closest swing state in the 2020 presidential election. Former President Donald Trump carried the state by a margin of just 1.34% of the vote over President Biden.