Authored by Jeff Louderback via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Within hours of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s announcement that he will run for president as an independent and not a Democrat, the super PAC supporting his candidacy raised more than $11 million.
American Values 2024 disclosed on Oct. 10 that it has generated $11.28 million since Mr. Kennedy told an audience in front of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, “I'm here to declare myself an independent candidate for president of the United States.”
Individual events have spurred bountiful fundraising for Mr. Kennedy. In September, a private fundraiser performance by musician Eric Clapton generated more than $2 million that was split between the campaign and American Values 2024.
The organization tallied about $6.47 million in July from a mix of donors who are registered Democrats and Republicans, according to American Values 2024. That number included about $5 million collected during Mr. Kennedy’s testimony in a hearing about censorship before the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
Individuals can give as much as $3,300 to a political candidate’s campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Super political action committees (PACs) are allowed to raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations, and individuals and “spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates,” according to OpenSecrets, an organization that tracks money in U.S. politics and its impact on elections and public policy.
Unlike traditional PACs, super PACS may not contribute money directly to political candidates.
Prominent Democratic Party donors like Abby Rockefeller have contributed to American Values 2024, but Republican donors have given a majority of the money the super PAC has received, including former President Donald Trump donor Tim Mellon, according to American Values 2024 reports.
Tony Lyons, co-chair of American Values 2024, spoke to The Epoch Times about the influx of support.
“People feel that the Democratic National Committee was disenfranchising them and that Bobby would not get the nomination based on the rules the DNC was putting into place and the inflammatory statements they have made about him time after time,” he said.
“They feel that their vote wouldn’t count, and that their donation wouldn’t be helpful because the primary would be rigged. Just as Bobby Kennedy sees a path to victory as an independent, so do the donors that were reluctant to contribute with him running as a Democrat,” Mr. Lyons explained.
George Washington, America’s first president, is the only independent candidate to win election to the nation’s highest office. No independent candidate has won an electoral vote in the past 50 years. America, Mr. Kennedy believes, is ready for “a new page in American politics.”
“There have been independent candidates before. But this time is different. This time, the independent is going to win,” Mr. Kennedy said.
During his Oct. 9 announcement in Philadelphia, Mr. Kennedy noted that “three-fourths of Americans believe President (Joe) Biden is too old to govern effectively. President Trump faces multiple civil and criminal trials. Both have favorability ratings deep in negative territory.”
He also referenced a recent Gallup poll showing that 63 percent of U.S. adults agree with the statement that the Republican and Democrat parties do “such a poor job” of representing Americans that “a third major party is needed.”
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released last week indicated that Mr. Kennedy could draw support from around one in seven U.S. voters in the 2024 presidential election. In a three-way race, President Trump received 33 percent support compared to 31 percent for President Biden and 14 percent for Mr. Kennedy.
Ahead of Mr. Kennedy’s Oct. 9 announcement, a poll commissioned by American Values 2024 and conducted by John Zogby Strategies showed that, in a three-way matchup, President Trump and President Biden were tied at 38 percent each, and Mr. Kennedy generated 19 percent support.
“The media pundits will tell you we have no chance. They say my only impact will be to draw votes from other candidates,” Mr. Kennedy said on Oct. 9 in Philadelphia.
“The Democrats are terrified I’ll spoil the election for President Biden. The Republicans fear I’ll spoil it for President Trump. The truth is—they’re both right! But only their inside-the-beltway myopia deludes them into thinking we have no chance to win.”
American Values 2024 will hire surrogates to go out in public and amplify his message.
“He [Mr. Kennedy] thinks this election will be won by reaching voters through podcasts and alternative media outlets that have more readers and viewers than legacy media,” Mr. Lyons said.
American Values 2024 has raised around $28 million since its inception in fall 2022, according to Mr. Lyons. The organization believes it can raise $100 million by the end of December.
The super PAC is also building a volunteer network, launching a Robert F. Kennedy Jr. fitness program, and organizing car caravans to travel across the country. Some of the money will be used for targeted advertisements in newspapers and on billboards and social media.
Since announcing his candidacy in April to challenge President Joe Biden for the 2024 Democrat party nomination, Mr. Kennedy has gained widespread support from conservative and moderate Republicans, independents, Libertarians, and moderate Democrats.
Last week, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) said that Mr. Kennedy would address the organization’s Investor Summit to Save America in Las Vegas later this month. Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and Kari Lake, who narrowly lost a gubernatorial bid in Arizona last year and is now running for U.S. Senate, will also speak.
“Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has a unique voice in advocating for the defunding of the weaponized bureaucracy and ensuring the constitutional right of medical freedom," CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp said in a statement. "Kennedy joining such an important event is a reflection of the splintering of the left-wing coalition that has gone full woke Marxist to the point that traditional liberals don't feel welcome anymore.”
Mr. Kennedy said that “declaring independence from the Democratic party” was a “painful” decision that he did not take lightly because of his family’s history with the party.
During an August interview with The Epoch Times in Columbia, South Carolina, he said, “I’m a Democrat. The Democrat party has lost its way, and I want to return it to its traditional ideals.”
Mr. Kennedy faced what he deemed multiple roadblocks to “fair primary elections” from the DNC. Earlier this year, the organization voted to give President Biden its full support. At the same meeting, the DNC voted to replace New Hampshire with South Carolina as the first-in-the-nation primary state. The organization has warned that New Hampshire will face potential penalties if that state’s Democrat primary does not comply with new primary calendar plans.
Mr. Kennedy told supporters in New Hampshire that he would have to make a decision before Oct. 15 to run as an independent and that it would require about $15 million in funds to get on the ballot in all 50 states.