RFK Jr. is gaining Republican support in his Democratic primary bid to unseat Biden

RYE, NH – As Robert F. Kennedy Jr. tries to unseat President Joe Biden in the 2024 Democratic primary, anti-vaxxers are Conspiracy theorists is finding support from an unlikely source: Republicans.

Kennedy sat down for an in-depth interview with former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson. He has recruited Republicans for his campaign, including a sitting member of the New Hampshire Legislature. His desperate attempt to defeat an incumbent in his own party is a frequent topic of joy on conservative talk radio.

And on Wednesday evening, Scott Brown, a former Republican senator from Massachusetts, hosted Kennedy at one of his “No BS” barbecues – becoming the first non-Republican to be granted the privilege.

“It’s an honor,” Brown said as he introduced Kennedy to a packed crowd of about 500 people.

His invitation caused a stir among both parties.

“I have no idea why Scott Brown, as a Republican, would host a Democrat,” said Steve Duprey, a former Republican National Committee member from New Hampshire. “Is it just an attempt to strengthen Kennedy and hurt Biden? Who knows.”

The New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman said that was the obvious reason Republicans supported Kennedy and that Kennedy was happy to accept their help.

“In my decades of experience with New Hampshire primaries, I have never seen a Democratic candidate go after registered Republicans so hard,” Ray Buckley told HuffPost. “The truth is that RFK is an anti-vaxxer conspiracy theory and this campaign is being funded by a Trump donor. None of this fits the Democratic Party. Seems like he’s running in the wrong primary.”

Brown, who hosted his political meetings for GOP candidates in 2016 and now this election cycle, said people deserve a chance to hear Kennedy’s views.

“If someone wants to talk to voters in New Hampshire, they should have a place to do it,” he told HuffPost, adding that he wasn’t just trying to weaken Biden to make it easier for a Republican to beat him. “I obviously have a relationship with the Kennedy family that goes back long before I was a U.S. senator…If he wants to come, I’m happy to have him.”

Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appears with former Republican Senator Scott Brown "No nonsense" Barbecue campaign meeting Wednesday evening in New Hampshire.
Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appears at former Republican Sen. Scott Brown’s “No BS” cookout in New Hampshire on Wednesday evening.

However, Scott opened the question-and-answer portion of Kennedy’s appearance by asking him whether he would run as an independent if the Democratic National Committee “blocked” him by making it harder for him to gain delegates for the nomination. Such a move could hurt Biden in the general election by siphoning Democratic votes.

“If they block me, I will explore every option,” Kennedy said to applause.

The 69-year-old Kennedy, son of an assassinated presidential candidate and nephew of an assassinated president, enjoyed a brief surge in poll numbers when he announced his candidacy in the spring. Since then, however, his numbers have fallen dramatically, and he is now more popular with Republican voters than Democrats.

In fact, on a number of issues, Kennedy agrees far more with the Trump wing of the Republican Party than with the Democratic Party.

Kennedy has said he rejects U.S. support for Ukraine, which continues to fight the Russian invasion that began in early 2022. That’s in line with most supporters of Donald Trump, who called the Russian dictator a “genius” after Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine for doing it.

Kennedy said in a recent interview that he supported a nationwide abortion ban — although he released a statement shortly afterward saying he did not.

And many “MAGA” Republicans care about Kennedy, an opponent of childhood vaccinations for decades and more recently a vocal critic of COVID-19 vaccines. He recently claimed that the disease had been manipulated to be less deadly for Chinese and Jews.

His view on vaccines was one of the things Karen McLaughlin, 52, liked about Kennedy. The two-time Trump voter drove an hour through the rain from Nashua to hear him in person. “He’s the only Democrat I would consider,” she said as she waited in line to be “hesitated” by the Kennedy campaign’s private security.

“So far, I like what I’m hearing,” said Mike Sears, 54 and also a two-time Trump voter, as he waited in the magnetometer line outside the farmhouse that Brown uses for his political meetings.

The pro-Trump nature of much of the audience became clear as Kennedy began his remarks by pointing out all the things Americans have in common, such as the desire for good education and health care.

“Drain the swamp!” a voice shouted from the front rows, repeating a favorite Trump slogan.

“We all want to drain the swamp,” Kennedy agreed.

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