Updated Mar 26, 2024 - Politics & Policy

RFK Jr. selects Nicole Shanahan as running mate for independent bid

Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attends "A Night of Laughter With RFK Jr. & Friends" hosted by the Kennedy campaign at Million Dollar Theater on February 21, 2024 in Los Angeles, California

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attends an event hosted by the Kennedy campaign at Million Dollar Theater on Feb. 21 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced Tuesday that he is tapping attorney and entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan as his running mate for his independent presidential bid.

Why it matters: His vice presidential selection allows him to ramp up signature collection in nearly two dozen states, as he presses on with his bid to qualify for the ballot in all 50 states.

Driving the news: "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 at an event on Tuesday in Shanahan's hometown of Oakland.

Zoom in: Shanahan, 38, is the founder and president of Bia-Echo Foundation and the ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

  • She has little political experience, but has been a frequent donor of past Democratic presidential campaigns, including for Pete Buttigieg and Marianne Williamson, per Forbes.
  • She told the New York Times last month that she donated $4 million to the super PAC behind Kennedy's campaign, American Values 2024, to support a 30-second ad that ran during the Super Bowl backing Kennedy.

Between the lines: Kennedy's selection of the wealthy lawyer could give him financial help as his campaign continues to burn through campaign cash and as two rivals, President Biden and former President Trump, have huge cash advantages.

  • Kennedy's campaign raised $3.2 million in February, while spending $2.9 million. He ended February with about $5.1 million left in cash on hand, according to his FEC filing.

The big picture: Kennedy's campaign earlier this month indicated that he had a short list of possible VP candidates that included NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and ex-Minnesota governor and pro wrestler Jesse Ventura.

  • Kennedy, a prominent vaccine skeptic, has run an anti-establishment campaign, hoping to tap into Americans who seek an alternative to the current match-up.

State of play: Kennedy has drawn heightened scrutiny from the Biden campaign as he continues to draw an average of about 10% in national polls.

Go deeper: What to know about Nicole Shanahan, RFK Jr.'s potential VP pick

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

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