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Cornel West to announce running mate for independent 2024 campaign

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(WASHINGTON) — Independent presidential candidate Cornel West will announce his vice presidential pick on Wednesday as he seeks to gain ballot access in additional states ahead of the November general election.

West, a prominent activist, author and philosopher who had entered the 2024 field first as a Green Party candidate before switching to an independent bid, will make the announcement on “The Tavis Smiley Show.”

“On Wednesday, we will joyfully open a new chapter in this ‘moment in a movement,’ by announcing a committed candidate for Vice President who stands in solidarity with poor, oppressed and forgotten people everywhere,” West said in a statement released by his campaign.

His running mate decision will also “allow the campaign to further progress in additional key states which require a VP candidate to obtain ballot access and give voters an independent choice alongside the duopoly candidates,” his campaign noted.

Independent candidates need a running mate to qualify for the ballot in multiple states. Another independent White House hopeful, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., encountered such a dilemma in the state of Nevada, where his lack of a running mate at the time he delivered the signatures required to get on the state’s ballot may now invalidate his efforts to gain access.

Kennedy announced his vice presidential pick, Nicole Shanahan, shortly after the dispute arose. (State officials have not resolved the issue.)

West’s campaign has said he is on the ballot in four states: Alaska, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah, either independently or associated with minor parties, though officials in each state have not yet confirmed that.

He was on the Peace and Freedom March 5 presidential primary ballot in California, where current results show him in second place. Results will be certified in California on April 12.

Going forward, West’s campaign has said they’re attempting to get him on ballots in all 50 states. In January, they announced that he was launching a new political party, the Justice for All Party, in order to more easily gain access everywhere as in some places it’s easier, mostly because of signature requirements, to get on the ballot as a member of a new party rather than as an independent.

Richard Winger, a ballot access expert and political analyst, told ABC News that a number of past third-party or independent candidates have used patchwork methods the way West is attempting in order to get on more ballots.

New party creation is achieved state-by-state, so West may be able to gain access in one place as an independent and another place as a member of the Justice for All Party or even affiliated with other small parties.

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