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  • The Hill

    RFK Jr. announces Nicole Shanahan as VP pick

    By Hanna Trudo,


    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has chosen tech attorney and entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan to join his independent presidential campaign as his running mate.

    Kennedy made the announcement at an event in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, where he outlined how their 2024 ticket will differ from those of President Biden and former President Trump.

    He said at the event that Shanahan is a daughter of immigrants “who overcame every daunting obstacle and went on to achieve the highest levels of the American dream.”

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

    Kennedy’s choice of Shanahan adds an element of age and gender diversity to the ticket. At 38, she is more than three decades younger than the 70-year-old Kennedy. A female running mate also helps offset the ticket in an election where the Democratic, Republican and Independent front-runners are all older white men.

    A founder and president of Bia-Echo Foundation, the California-based entrepreneur brings a proven funding stream to the Kennedy campaign. The former spouse of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Shanahan financed most of Kennedy’s February Super Bowl ad that captured millions of viewers. She also founded an analytics company, ClearAccessIP, after law school.

    Kennedy said he wanted a running mate who shared his “indignation” for how Big Tech companies partner in the “censorship and the surveillance and the information warfare that our government is currently waging against the American people,” adding that technology has been one of Shanahan’s “lifelong” passions.

    “That’s why I’m bringing on someone with a deep inside knowledge of how Big Tech uses [artificial intelligence] to manipulate the public,” he said.

    Mediaite first reported that Kennedy had chosen Shanahan to round out his ticket.

    Shanahan said in her own remarks that her political convictions – “to serve peace, and to help those in poverty” – initially made her gravitate toward the Democratic Party. But she argued the party has since “lost its way.”

    “You can understand why I gravitated toward the Democratic Party. Because that was supposed to be the party of peace, the party of compassion. Many Democrats still believe in those ideals, but unfortunately, as an institution, it has lost its way,” she said.

    “There is only one anti-war candidate today, one peace candidate, and you won’t find him in the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. He is an independent. He is Robert F. Kennedy Jr.”

    Shanahan also announced during her remarks that she was leaving the Democratic Party.

    “This independent movement comes at a time of extreme division in America that threatens to tear this country apart. It is time for a re-alignment. It is time, as Bobby Kennedy says, to focus on our unifying values rather than our divisions,” she said.

    Her closeness to Silicon Valley means a greater access to deep-pocketed sources for Kennedy’s White House effort, essential for the costly ballot access effort he is undertaking ahead of the general election.

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    Kennedy’s campaign had to announce a No. 2 sooner in the cycle than is typical due to the nature of certain laws and regulations in states where he is trying to compete. He needs a declared running mate in nearly half of those states, and having a set vice presidential choice makes him eligible to collect signatures that count toward his viability as a candidate in the fall.

    Kennedy denied Shanahan’s resources were his main motivation for tapping her during an interview with NewsNation, The Hill’s sister company, instead pointing to a generational divide he’s hoping to bridge through his choice.

    “I wanted someone who is battle-tested, able to withstand criticism and the controversy and all the defamations and slanders and perjuries that are thrown against anyone who embarks on a presidential campaign,” Kennedy said.

    She supported Kennedy’s independent candidacy after he left the Democratic Party to try to compete against President Biden and former President Trump in November. The duo shares ties to more Democrats than Republicans. Kennedy’s universal name recognition in the party due to his prominent family raises his profile in the race, while Shanahan has donated to other Democrats in past campaign cycles, including Biden, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and author Marianne Williamson, Axios reported.

    Shanahan also holds similar social justice and environmental views to those of Kennedy. In California, she gave tens of thousands of dollars to a criminal justice reform initiative called Proposition 57, a liberal measure aimed at reducing incarceration rates, according to the Los Angeles Times. She’s also been involved with climate change initiatives, on which Kennedy, an environmental attorney, has placed much of his professional focus.

    While announcing a vice president will technically help Kennedy qualify for more states, he still has the vast majority to go before being considered a top-tier contender. He has so far made it on the New Hampshire, Utah and Hawaii ballots, and his super PAC has noted that they have independently collected signatures for him in some important battlegrounds like Michigan and Georgia.

    Adding Shanahan, Kennedy allies hope, will spark further enthusiasm for his insurgent campaign and will in particular bring new donors and supporters to his effort before state deadlines pass over the coming months.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.

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