Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks during a campaign event in Miami
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Attorney Nicole Shanahan from Silicon Valley is named RFK Jr.’s running mate

Nicole Shanahan- Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. named attorney and tech entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan as his running mate Tuesday at a rally in Oakland, California.


“I’m so proud to introduce to you the next vice president the United States, my fellow lawyer, a brilliant scientist, technologist, a fierce warrior mom, Nicole Shanahan,” Kennedy said.

Shanahan’s selection will accelerate Kennedy’s attempt to gain ballot access in as many states as possible. Nearly half require a vice presidential pick to advance that process.

Shanahan will also be tasked with broadening Kennedy’s appeal and helping raise money to fuel his big-spending campaign.


There has been speculation that the wealthy 38-year-old, who was previously married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, could reach into her own pockets to aid the cause.


Kennedy said he selected Shanahan in part because he wanted someone with whom he shares common values on agriculture, health care and Big Tech, while also aligning with Kennedy’s vision on how leaders should carry themselves.

“I wanted a partner who is a gifted administrator, but also possesses the gift of curiosity, an open, inquiring mind and the confidence to change even her strongest opinions in the face of contrary evidence. I wanted someone with a spiritual dimension and compassion and idealism and, above all, a deep love of the United States of America,” Kennedy said.

While major-party presidential candidates typically announce their vice presidential nominees closer to their party’s nominating conventions in the summer, Kennedy is moving now so his campaign can transition into the next phase of its ballot access efforts.

The son of former US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, the independent candidate has set a goal to qualify for the ballot in all 50 states and Washington, DC.

 He is so far on the ballot only in Utah. His campaign has said it has gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in New Hampshire, Nevada and Hawaii, while a super PAC backing his White House bid has said it has collected enough signatures to qualify Kennedy in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and South Carolina.


The Kennedy campaign said Tuesday it is “already actively collecting signatures in 17 states and is kicking off its petition gathering this week in 19 additional states that are open and require a vice presidential candidate.”

In her remarks Tuesday, Shanahan said she plans to “focus the next seven months of my life” working to help Kennedy meet his ballot access goal.


Kennedy’s ballot access in Nevada, however, could be in jeopardy. In a statement to CNN on Monday, a spokesperson for Nevada’s Democratic secretary of state said that “an error” had been made in communicating ballot access guidance to the campaign.


The law indicates that candidates must “designate a nominee for Vice President” in their petitions.


Paul Rossi, a ballot access attorney for the Kennedy campaign, suggested Nevada Democrats were attempting to block the candidate from gaining ballot access in the state – a claim the secretary of state’s office rejected. “In no way was the initial error or subsequent statutory guidance made with intent to benefit or harm any political party or candidate for office,” spokesperson Cecilia Heston said in the statement.

Adding to the numerous ballot access hurdles are challenges from Democrats looking to stifle Kennedy, whom they portray as a spoiler candidate who could help former President Donald Trump defeat President Joe Biden.


The Democratic National Committee has filed two complaints with the Federal Election Committee in the past two months, accusing the pro-Kennedy super PAC, American Values 2024, of committing campaign finance violations and of illegally coordinating with the Kennedy campaign to run its own ballot access initiative.


Last week, the Democratic Party of Hawaii objected to the Kennedy campaign’s ballot access petition there, temporarily blocking it ahead of a state elections office hearing Thursday.


Both Kennedy and Shanahan, who contributed to Biden’s election effort in 2020, took aim at the Democratic Party on Tuesday, with Shanahan accusing Democrats of “losing their way.”

“I am leaving the Democratic Party,” Shanahan told the crowd of hundreds in Oakland, adding, “I do believe they’ve lost their way and their leadership.”

Shanahan could play a role in boosting fundraising as the Kennedy campaign navigates the costly ballot qualification process and a general election campaign against Biden and Trump, each of whose campaigns dwarf the Kennedy team’s fundraising totals.

Reports show the Kennedy campaign raised just $3.2 million in February, while spending about $2.9 million, and it ended the month with about $5.1 million in the bank. American Values 2024 spent $8.8 million in February, including $6.2 million on a TV ad that aired during the Super Bowl.

Shanahan told  that she contributed approximately $4 million to help the PAC run the ad and assisted in coordinating production of the commercial.


Kennedy has denied prioritizing a potential running mate’s wealth when vetting his options.

“I would never choose a vice presidential candidate based on how much money they have,” the candidate said in a NewsNation interview last week.


Aside from the need to begin gathering signatures in more than half the remaining states, Kennedy has offered little insight into the types of voters he’s targeting ahead of his vice presidential announcement.

 In an interview , Kennedy said his running mate would be “somebody who was aligned with my values, optimistic about our country and its potential, and able to run the country at a moment’s notice.”


Kennedy told supporters on Tuesday he selected Shanahan in part to offer a voice to younger voters and to the “working poor,” two groups he hopes upon which to build a coalition.

“I want Nicole to be a champion to the growing number of millennials and Gen Z Americans who have lost faith in their future and lost their pride in our country,” Kennedy said.


“She’s gonna fight for all those Americans who know what it’s like to skip meals to pay for gasoline and watch food prices climb ever higher and wonder how in the world they’re gonna make it through the grocery store checkout line,” he added.

Other people whom Kennedy reportedly considered for the running mate position included former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, former Democratic Rep.

Tulsi Gabbard, Republican Sen. Rand Paul, former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, former television host Mike Rowe, motivational speaker Tony Robbins and civil rights lawyer Tricia Lindsay.


Who is Nicole Shanahan, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s vice presidential pick?


The 38-year-old, first-time candidate enters the race largely unknown to the public outside of tech circles but was an early supporter of Kennedy’s presidential bid, backing him last year while he was still running in the Democratic primary.


Nicole Shanahan
Attorney and entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan is seen at a gala in Los Angeles


Shanahan said during her remarks Tuesday she initially “didn’t think much of” Kennedy but became drawn to his campaign after hearing his interviews, which she said gave her “hope for our democracy.”


An Oakland native, Shanahan was raised by a father diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and a mother who immigrated to the US from China, according to People magazine. Her family relied on welfare growing up and struggled to make ends meet, the publication reported.


“I had a very hard childhood with a lot of sadness, fear and instability,” Shanahan told People. “At times there was violence.”

She told supporters in Oakland on Tuesday her father was “plagued by substance abuse” and “struggled to keep a job.”

“I think of him when I see the statistics of the millions of Americans who are addicted, depressed or suffering,” she said. “This is one of the epidemics of our time. It affects nearly every American family.”

Shanahan briefly touched on her wealth during her remarks but leaned more strongly into her low-income upbringing in a family that relied on food stamps.


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