Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Draws Crowd to Colorado Rally | Westword

Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Draws Crowd at Stanley Marketplace Rally

To get on the Colorado ballot, he needs to collect 1,500 signatures in each of the state's eight congressional districts by July 11.
Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks at a rally to encourage Coloradans to sign the petition allowing him access to the presidential ballot.
Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks at a rally to encourage Coloradans to sign the petition allowing him access to the presidential ballot. Jack Spiegel/Westword
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Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who's attempting to collect enough signatures to get on Colorado's presidential ballot, held a campaign rally at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora on Sunday, May 19.

To qualify for November’s general election, Kennedy must collect 1,500 signatures from registered voters in each of Colorado’s eight congressional districts. While volunteers roamed the facility asking patrons to sign their petitions to get Kennedy on the ballot, more than a thousand Coloradans from across the metro area packed into the Hangar to hear from Kennedy and take photos with the candidate.

click to enlarge crowd at presidential rally
Over 1,000 people filled the Hangar at Stanley Marketplace for a rally with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Jack Spiegel/Westword

Jona Fill, 60, of Northglenn, voted for Donald Trump in the previous two presidential elections because she sees him as a proponent of small government. Kennedy’s campaign has given her a new candidate to support.

“He seems to talk for the people,” Fill said. “He knows we all struggle, we're currently struggling, and seems to understand that and care about that.”

Not everyone at the rally was a supporter of Kennedy. Some were just political junkies.

“I'm a huge collector of political campaign memorabilia,” said David Stelzer, 63, who lives just south of Denver and attended the rally with his grandson. Stelzer is a self-proclaimed political historian who's retired from the federal government.

“I'm interested to see the type of people who are here,” Stelzer said. “I'm concerned if they're going to throw the election to Trump — a few thousand votes in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Michigan could be the difference between ‘Traitor’ resuming office and the current president.”

Bonnie Eckert, 64, of Boulder, said that she voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 election in an effort to block Trump from a second term.

“I'm not proud of that,” Eckert said. “I cannot stomach the idea of having a repeat of either one of those. I really feel like we need new energy.”One of the biggest issues for Eckert in this election is the environment. Kennedy has proposed sweeping changes to environmental regulatory agencies and plans to end corporate greed.

click to enlarge man in white shirt takes photo with woman
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. takes a photo with Bonnie Eckert after a rally at Stanley Marketplace.
Jack Spiegel/Westword

Many attendees said they're backing Kennedy because of the meaning that name carries.

“His whole family are some of my favorite people throughout history because they've always preached a good message of wanting to bring people together instead of dividing everybody,” said Bliss Driggers, 39, of Denver.

Like Eckert, Driggers reluctantly voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020 in an effort to stop Trump, but he thinks Kennedy is the next answer.

“If his dad wasn't assassinated, and if his uncle weren't assassinated and both of them were alive, I guarantee you they would be backing their nephew and their son,” Driggers said.

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Kyle Rudd (left) and Bliss Driggers (right) both plan to vote for independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. if he gets on the ballot.
Jack Spiegel/Westword

Although fifteen members of the Kennedy family publicly endorse President Joe Biden's reelection campaign, Driggers thinks that narrative is getting too much attention.

If Kennedy gets on the ballot, Driggers will be voting for him in November. “It would be with my heart this time instead of me just choosing the one that I think is not as bad as the other one,” Driggers said.

Kennedy must obtain 12,000 qualified signatures by July 11 in order to qualify for Colorado's ballot in the November election.

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