Unexpected Opportunity for Natural Law Party

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In January, Doug Dern, the dedicated state chairman of the Natural Law Party of Michigan, received an email from a key strategist of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign. This contact sparked hope for Mr. Dern’s small political group, which he has tirelessly maintained on Michigan’s ballot for 22 years. Despite being a bankruptcy lawyer with a modest practice near Detroit, Mr. Dern has managed to keep the Natural Law Party afloat by running a few candidates in lesser-known state races each cycle, meeting Michigan’s minimum requirements for minor parties.

New Dynamics in the 2024 Election

By securing ballot access in Michigan, a pivotal swing state in the forthcoming 2024 election, Mr. Kennedy has introduced fresh unpredictability into what is anticipated to be one of the most fiercely contested presidential races in history. Remarkably, he achieved this milestone without having to collect a single signature, thereby avoiding the expensive and laborious task of organizing such an effort. Furthermore, this approach circumvented potential legal battles over the validity of collected signatures.

“Keep that ballot access,” Mr. Dern emphasized during an interview, “Because someday, a candidate is going to come along who’s going to be perfect for it. Someday, the third parties are going to be hot.”

Mr. Kennedy’s official nomination took place at a succinct convention held on Wednesday morning in Mr. Dern’s law office. The event was attended solely by Mr. Dern and the party’s secretary. Stefanie Spear, a spokesperson for the Kennedy campaign, confirmed the campaign’s timeline and announced that Mr. Kennedy and his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, had been “duly nominated by the Natural Law Party.”

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