Robert F. Kennedy Jr. names tech attorney Nicole Shanahan as vice-presidential pick

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Selects Tech Lawyer Nicole Shanahan as Vice Presidential Running Mate

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. made headlines on Tuesday by announcing that Nicole Shanahan, a prominent tech attorney and major donor, will be his vice-presidential running mate in his independent bid for the presidency. This strategic move is expected to enhance Kennedy’s chances of securing ballot access as he embarks on his ambitious journey to the White House.

At 70, Kennedy chose to reveal his vice-presidential pick in Shanahan’s hometown of Oakland, California, not far from the technological heartland. Shanahan, 38, has made a name for herself as a lawyer in the Bay Area, boasting significant connections within Silicon Valley. She was also previously married to Sergey Brin, the billionaire co-founder of Google.

Despite being relatively unknown in the political arena until recently, Shanahan has been a supporter of the Democratic Party, contributing $25,000 in 2020 to back President Biden. Her political involvement deepened as she donated millions to Kennedy’s campaign and his supporting super PAC, even funding a $4 million commercial that aired during the Super Bowl in support of Kennedy.

Some of Kennedy’s supporters believe Shanahan, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, could broaden his appeal among younger voters and women, potentially strengthening his position as a third-party contender against the likely nominees, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

In a February interview with the Washington Post, Shanahan shared that she was initially drawn to Kennedy’s campaign due to his focus on environmental health, aligning with her philanthropic interests. She emphasized her support for vaccine safety research, a concern she shares with Kennedy.

After Kennedy exited the Democratic presidential race, Shanahan expressed her concerns about the potential impact on the election but remained a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party. Her decision to fund the Super Bowl ad reflected her growing belief in silent support for Kennedy, though she remained uncertain about her future support strategies.

Kennedy has committed to securing his name on the ballot in every state, a challenging task given his departure from the Democratic Party to run as an independent. The requirement in 26 states and the District of Columbia for independent presidential candidates to nominate a vice-presidential candidate has prompted Kennedy to announce his running mate early.

In his search for a vice-presidential candidate, Kennedy considered various high-profile individuals, including NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former independent Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura, among others. His campaign has successfully gathered enough signatures for ballot access in several states, with Utah confirming his placement on the ballot.

Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and anti-vaccine activist, launched his campaign as a Democrat but switched to independent, distancing himself from his family’s Democratic legacy. Despite his controversial stance on vaccines, Kennedy has not clarified his position on issues such as the personhood of embryos following a recent Alabama Supreme Court decision affecting IVF clinics.

Kennedy’s third-party candidacy has attracted attention from voters across the political spectrum, with some Democrats concerned about its potential to divert support from Biden. His efforts to gain ballot access have included discussions with the Libertarian Party and the creation of his own party, “We the People,” in some states.

The super PAC supporting Kennedy, American Values 2024, has assisted in gathering signatures in various states. However, the Democratic National Committee has filed a complaint alleging illegal coordination between Kennedy’s campaign and the PAC.

Kennedy has voiced the challenges of running an independent campaign, including the early selection of a running mate. His campaign director and daughter-in-law, Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, criticized the petition requirement for ballot access as anti-democratic, emphasizing the campaign’s effort to find a running mate who genuinely addresses Americans’ needs.