Skip to main content
Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. makes Michigan ballot, seen as spoiler to Biden, Trump

Robert F. Kennedy speaking into microphone
Attorney Robert F. Kennedy is polling in single digits, but the margin in Michigan is expected to be slim between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, positioning the son of the former senator as a potential spoiler. (Shutterstock photo by Juli Hansen)
  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will run for president in Michigan as the Natural Law Party’s candidate
  • Kennedy, the son of a former U.S. senator and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, is seen as a potential spoiler by both Democrats and Republicans
  • Kennedy has become a lightning rod for his anti-vaccine stance since the COVID-19 pandemic

Michigan voters will see at least one other big “name” on the ballot this November in the race for president.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an environmental lawyer and son of former U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, has made the ballot as the presidential nominee of the Natural Law Party, one of five minor parties Michigan allows on the ballot.


Michigan is the most prominent state where Kennedy has made the ballot, and he is the most prominent candidate for the Natural Law banner since Ralph Nader in 2008.


Nader got 0.7% of the vote that year in Michigan, compared to 57.4% for  Democrat Barack Obama and 41% for Republican John McCain.

Formed in 1992, the Natural Law Party has advocated that most problems can be solved with Transcendental Meditation and science-based solutions.  

Kennedy’s bid is a long shot, but third-party candidates have long played a spoiler role in Michigan. 

In 2016, when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton lost to former President Donald Trump by less than 11,000 votes, third party candidates got nearly 190,000 votes.

Kennedy’s team points to an October 2023 New York Times’ poll that showed him getting 26% of support compared to 34% for Trump and 31% for President Joseph Biden. 

The poll did not ask about any other potential third-party candidates, and subsequent surveys have Kennedy support in single digits.

According to his campaign, Kennedy is on the ballot in Utah and has collected the necessary signatures to be on the ballot in New Hampshire, Nevada, Hawaii, North Carolina, Idaho, Nebraska, and Iowa.

In 2020, all third-party candidates combined got fewer than 90,000 votes in Michigan and President Joseph Biden won by over 154,000.

This year is shaping up as a close contest in the state, with polls showing Trump narrowly leading Biden in Michigan, raising the specter that third party votes could play a deciding role.

Kennedy is also the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy. He has become a controversial figure and outspoken critic of vaccines in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also claimed this week that the Trump campaign sent out feelers to see if he’d run as vice president on the Republican ticket. 

The Trump campaign denied the allegation and labeled Kennedy a “leftie looney.”


Kennedy has become a hot potato as both sides appear to see his candidacy as a potential spoiler

Trump has labeled Kennedy “radical Left,” while Biden’s team is accusing him of being part of Trump’s Make America Great Again movement.

Members of Kennedy’s family on Wednesday endorsed Biden.

Kennedy’s running mate is tech attorney Nicole Shanahan, who paid for his $4 million Super Bowl ad, that echoed his famous family’s past.

How impactful was this article for you?

Only donate if we've informed you about important Michigan issues

See what new members are saying about why they donated to Bridge Michigan:

  • “In order for this information to be accurate and unbiased it must be underwritten by its readers, not by special interests.” - Larry S.
  • “Not many other media sources report on the topics Bridge does.” - Susan B.
  • “Your journalism is outstanding and rare these days.” - Mark S.

If you want to ensure the future of nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan journalism, please become a member today. You, too, will be asked why you donated and maybe we'll feature your quote next time!

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Pay with PayPal Donate Now