Preventing a Biden Victory is My ‘Number One Priority’ Says RFK Jr. New York Ballot Access Consultant

By: Alex Trent | Published: Apr 10, 2024

Rita Palma, a campaign ballot access consultant for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in New York, made recent comments saying that efforts to get Kennedy on the ballot in New York will help “get rid of Biden”, which she called her “No. 1 priority.”

Palma made the comments in a video where she met with Republicans. In the meeting, she pitched the case that RFK Jr. could be the key to helping Trump win in New York, a state with a long history of going to the Democrats. The Kennedy campaign later disavowed her comments and downplayed her role in campaign operations.

Mutual Enemy

In a video of a political presentation to a Hudson Valley group of Republicans, Palma asks with her hand raised “There’s no Biden voters in the house, right? No? Okay, good.”

President Joe Biden speaking into a microphone, with Kamala Harris and Mike Johnson sitting behind him, during the 2024 State of the Union address.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Palma goes on to say “The Kennedy voter and the Trump voter, our mutual enemy is Biden.” She later confirmed the authenticity of the video to CNN.

New York Strategy

In the video posted to YouTube but since removed, Palma lays out her strategy for RFK Jr. helping Trump win New York over Biden.

A look at Brooklyn bridge leading into lower Manhattan in New York.

Source: Jakub Hałun/Wikimedia

“The only way that Trump can even, [have the] remote possibility of taking New York is if Bobby is on the ballot. If it’s Trump vs. Biden, Biden wins. Biden wins six days, seven days a week. With Bobby in the mix, anything can happen,” Palma said.

Shaking Things Up

Palma sees an opportunity for RFK Jr. to be a real game changer in the 2024 presidential race.

Independent presidential candidate RFK Jr speaks in 2023.

Source: Tom Williams/Wikimedia

She asserted in the video that “The only way for him, for Bobby, to shake it up and to get rid of Biden is if he’s on the ballot in every state, including New York.”

Getting Rid of Biden

Palma described her thoughts on the way Kennedy is a huge asset to Republicans and Trump.

Joe Biden speaks at a rally in 2019.

Source: Michael Stokes/Wikimedia

“So my thoughts are, Bobby’s moving the blues on his own…why wouldn’t we put our vote to Bobby and at least get rid of Biden and get those 28 electoral votes in New York … give those 28 electoral votes to Bobby rather than to Biden, thereby reducing Biden’s 270. Who are they going to pick? If it’s a Republican Congress, they’ll pick Trump. So we’re rid of Biden either way,” Palma said.

Spicing Up the Election

In an attempt to convince Republicans to sign petitions to get Kennedy on the ballot, she assured her audience they could still vote however they wanted in November.

Donald Trump does a dance on stage at a campaign rally in New York.

Source: Liam Enea/Wikimedia

“Just because you sign a petition to get him on the ballot, you can vote how you like on November 6. We’re just spicing up the election. We’re just making it more interesting, giving us more choices, supporting the democratic process and eventually hopefully getting rid of Joe Biden out of the deep-blue states,” Palma said.


Kennedy Campaign Response

Stefanie Spear, a Kennedy campaign spokesman released a statement to CNN, clarifying that Palma does not speak for the campaign.

A photo of Robert F. Kennedy seen in a grey suit with a blue tie in 2017.

Source: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia

“Rita Palma is a ballot access consultant responsible for scheduling volunteer shifts for our upcoming signature collection drive in the Empire State. She is not involved in electoral strategy, nationally or in New York,” Spear said.


Further Denial

Spear continued to deny the attitude espoused by Palma, preferring to frame the RFK Jr. campaign as requiring supporters of all political stripes.

Side-by-side images of former President Donald Trump on the left and President Joe Biden on the right. Trump is pictured with a slight smile, wearing a black suit with a red tie, and the background shows various national flags. Biden is captured speaking at a podium, gesturing with his right hand, wearing a dark suit with a blue tie

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“This was not a campaign event. Palma was speaking as a private citizen and her statements in no way reflect the strategy of the Kennedy campaign, which is to win the White House with votes from former Trump and Biden supporters alike,” said Spear.


Spoiler Accusations

Despite the campaign’s denials, The RFK Jr. campaign has been criticized in the past for acting as a spoiler for the presidential run of Joe Biden.

A photo of Joe Biden from 2021

Source: White House/Wikimedia

In February, the Democratic National Convention filed an FEC complaint against Kennedy’s campaign, saying was illegally coordinating with a super PAC that received funds from Trump donors.


Stalking Horse

In a call with reporters about the FEC complaint, DNC adviser Ramsey Reid accused Trump and his donors of turning the Kennedy campaign into a “stalking horse.”

A horse tied up to a carriage.

Source: Violeta Pencheva/Unsplash

“We’re concerned that Donald Trump is disrespecting the democratic process. It’s pretty clear that Trump and his megadonors are propping up RFK Jr. as a stalking horse,” Reid said.


Ballot Access

RFK Jr. could end up being a threat to both Biden and Trump if he manages to get on the ballot in key states. Consistent polling has shown he has high favorability compared to his competitors in the race.

A person slides an envelope into a ballot box.

Source: Element 5/Unsplash

Political analysts speculate that the access Kennedy is able to gain on ballots across the country could determine the threat he poses to the two mainstream candidates.


Independents and the Ballot

Because Kennedy is running as an independent, he is not guaranteed a spot on a state’s ballot like Republican and Democrat candidates are. Kennedy’s campaign has to reach a signature threshold to qualify for the state ballot.

People wait in a voting line during the 2020 election.

Source: Bart Everson/Wikimedia

This urgency to get more signatures as the race draws closer could explain why RFK Jr. advocates like Palma are so motivated to pitch ideas to different groups that may not align with what the Kennedy campaign sees as its central vision.