RFK Jr. Hires Republican Representative for 2024 Campaign

In a surprise move, RFK Jr. hired a Republican lawmaker in New Hampshire as part of his 2024 presidential bid.
RFK Jr. Hires Republican Representative for 2024 Campaign
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. visits "The Faulkner Focus"at Fox News Channel Studios in N.Y.C., on June 2, 2023. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Naveen Athrappully

Democrat 2024 presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. hired a Republican lawmaker in New Hampshire—an unusual move by the candidate widely regarded as a moderate appealing to both ends of the political aisle.

Mr. Kennedy hired Aidan Ankarberg, a sitting Republican state representative in New Hampshire. Mr. Ankarberg assumed office on Dec. 7, 2022, and represents Strafford 7. First reported by the New Republic, the new hire was chosen for an undisclosed position in Mr. Kennedy's campaign.

“He’s got the broadest appeal of anybody that’s run in a long time,” former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who heads Mr. Kennedy’s campaign, told the outlet. “Mr. Kennedy has crossover appeal. And it’s really powerful. And we had Republicans who are coming over. We have independents. We have libertarians, we have conservatives, we have liberals, every stripe of political following and endeavor is moving toward our campaign.”

Mr. Ankarberg served previously as the deputy majority whip, and has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

The hiring decision was found to be strange as it breaks political customs.

“Well, I’ve been around primaries for many decades, and never has a Republican state representative worked for a Democratic candidate and never has a Democratic state representative worked for a Republican yet,” Ray Buckley, the chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said to the outlet.

Buckley added, “This is a paid employee. This isn’t someone who endorsed him. This is off the charts weird.”

The RealClearPolitics poll averages put Mr. Kennedy in a distant second with 10.3 points for the New Hampshire Primary, following President Joe Biden with 67.7 points.

Opposition to Democrat Policies

Mr. Kennedy enjoys recognition within Republican ranks and among party voters for his stances on various subjects.

Unlike mainstream Democrats, he has voiced strong opposition against illegal immigration and an unquestionable acceptance of COVID vaccines.

"I was a person who ridiculed Trump's wall," he said during a recent interview with Tucker Carlson. "A lot of people come to this issue from a sort of nationalistic or even a racist or a xenophobic posture, and I'm not coming from that place. I'm coming from a place of compassion and a place of just concern for our country ... What's happening to our country is a catastrophe."

 The logo of YouTube displayed by a tablet in Toulouse, France, on Oct. 5, 2021. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images)
The logo of YouTube displayed by a tablet in Toulouse, France, on Oct. 5, 2021. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images)

He continued: "So, now I've been down there and talked to everybody down there and ... I have a different position. I don't think you need a 2,200-mile physical barrier from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas, but we definitely need physical barriers in densely populated area[s], definitely because we cannot survive what's happening here,"

Mr. Kennedy filed a lawsuit on Aug. 2 against YouTube and Google for allegedly conducting a "censorship campaign" against his remarks on vaccines.

"This complaint concerns the freedom of speech and the extraordinary steps the United States government has taken under the leadership of Joe Biden to silence people it does not want Americans to hear," the 27-page suit reads.

The lawsuit stresses the fact that Mr. Kennedy was targeted in his position as a presidential contender. Mr. Kennedy remains a staunch skeptic of the mandated COVID-19 vaccines.

"This censorship campaign prevents Mr. Kennedy's message from reaching millions of voters. It also makes it harder for groups that are supporting his campaign to amplify his message through public sources," the suit reads.

The lawsuit alleges YouTube violated Mr. Kennedy’s First Amendment rights by removing videos of his speech at Saint Anselm College and interviews with clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson and conservative podcast host Joe Rogan.
Federal Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins has agreed to have the case addressed at an emergency hearing on Aug. 16, according to the latest update.

Support From the GOP

Former president and leading Republican contender Donald Trump has expressed his appreciation for Mr. Kennedy.

“I respect him—a lot of people respect him. He’s got some very important points to be made,” Trump told Newsmax’s Eric Bolling during a June 26 interview.

On the “The Howie Carr Show” in late June, President Trump said of Mr. Kennedy: “He’s been very nice to me. I’ve actually had a very nice relationship with him over the years. He’s a very smart guy and a good guy.”
 Former President Donald Trump arrives at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Former President Donald Trump arrives at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

When asked about it, Mr. Kennedy said he was “proud that President Trump likes me, even though I don't agree with him on most of his issues.”

The former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon reiterated his preference for a Trump/Kennedy ticket for the 2024 presidential run, suggesting that the combination would produce a “massive landslide” win, even as the possibility remains almost nil.

“If somehow it worked out [that] you could get Kennedy as a running mate—and I don’t know, that is far from even technically can happen because of the structure of the Democratic and Republican parties and ballot access and all that—you could get 60 percent or higher in the country and win a massive landslide,” said Mr. Bannon during a podcast episode.

Mr. Kennedy is inspiring a crossover voting movement among Republicans. In crossover voting, electors switch parties during the primaries to boost the underdog, and then switch back in the general elections.
With crossover voting, President Trump’s mounting legal troubles, and a third party securing ballot access in seven states, the 2024 elections are expected to be a hotly contested affair.