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Deadline looms for RFK Jr. to qualify for 1st presidential debate

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — With the deadline quickly approaching, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has little time left to meet the criteria for the first presidential debate.

Kennedy’s campaign team has requested the Federal Election Commission intervene after the independent candidate accused CNN of “colluding with the Biden and Trump campaigns,” to block his participation in the June 27 debate.

CNN, the debate host, reported Saturday that while it’s not impossible, it’s unlikely that any candidate besides President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will qualify.

You can watch the debate live on NewsNation on June 27. Join us for “It’s Debate Night with Chris Cuomo” at 8p/7C for pre-debate analysis. Not sure how to find us? Click here.

Kennedy’s campaign has until Thursday to meet the criteria set by CNN.

What are the chances that RFK Jr. qualifies for the first debate?

This week, the campaign announced some progress but still needs significant support in the next 24 hours.

CNN requires eligible candidates to appear on enough state ballots to reach 270 electoral votes.

According to The Hill and Decision Desk HQ, as of Wednesday, Kennedy will officially appear on the presidential ballot in five states, equating to just 40 electoral votes.

While the campaign claims it’s collected enough signatures for ballot access in 18 other states, those signatures still need to be verified, leaving him short of the requirement.

Additionally, candidates must receive at least 15% support in four national polls meeting CNN standards. Kennedy has received at least 15% support in three nationally recognized polls.

Is there evidence that Trump and Biden are collaborating to block RFK Jr.?

Kennedy’s campaign also accuses CNN of colluding with the Trump and Biden campaigns to exclude him from the debate stage.

In a statement this week, the campaign wrote, “CNN’s published debate criteria require that ‘a candidate’s name must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold.'”

Kennedy argues CNN is holding him to this requirement but not Biden and Trump by claiming they are the “presumptive nominee of a political party.”

CNN says the presumptive nominees of the two major parties will be allowed on ballots without petitioning.

Kennedy has asked the FEC to postpone the CNN debate until it meets his campaign’s standards or to allow him on the debate stage. The campaign may also file a lawsuit if Kennedy doesn’t qualify for the event.

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