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RFK Jr. backers celebrate as they turn in petitions to get him on the New York ballot

Supporters of Robert Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign delivered petitions Tuesday as they work to get him on the New York state ballot.

Saying the time has come to unite the county and provide voters another option, Kennedy backers turned in more than 130,000 signatures – nearly three times the 45,000 requirement — to choruses of “New York, New York” at the Board of Elections in Albany.

Will Boothby, the campaign’s Northeast regional director, says Kennedy addresses commonsense issues.

“The corruption in our agencies, the corporate capture, home ownership, I want an America that everyone's getting along. Political discourse needs to cut back to a point that we are coming together for problem solving. I don't think Biden or Trump are capable of that,” Boothby said.

Campaign volunteer David Freedman points to Kennedy’s environmental advocacy.

“He actually has fought the government and won. And that's why, someone who has a history of changing things,” Freedman said.

He says Kennedy is appealing to voters on both sides.

“Many of the Republicans are very, very supportive. You do have your MAGA people or your super pro-Trump people. But a lot of Republicans want to go back to the way the Republican Party used to be, just like Democrats want to go back to the way the Democratic Party used to be,” Freedman siad.

Kennedy has longstanding ties to New York state, where he worked for years advocating for the health of the Hudson River. He built his political profile in recent years by embracing a number of conspiracies and promoted vaccine skepticism well before the COVID-19 pandemic. Kennedy is on the ballot in seven states, and his campaign says it has enough signatures to more than double that number.

Eileen Tapper says Kennedy’s message of unity is key, adding she’s sick of hearing that she should dislike those who vote differently than her.

“I really believe that Bobby cares about people and really wants to help people instead of you know, feeding the military industrial complex and Big Pharma,” Tapper said.

Maria Botehlo Ayres and her family are Kennedy volunteers from Massachusetts who came to help turn in the signatures. She says RFK Jr. has appeal in the Bay State as well.

“Our agencies that should be representing the people are representing the corporations, and he knows who the people are, he knows what needs to be done next,” Ayres said.

Over the weekend, the Libertarian Party nominated Chase Oliver, rejecting Kennedy and Trump at the party’s national convention. Kennedy has been courting third parties as he presses for access to the ballot and the Trump-Biden debates.

A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.