Apr 30, 2024 - Business

Exclusive: VP candidate Nicole Shanahan kicks off media campaign


Screenshot from Nicole Shanahan's new podcast, "Back to the People."

Nicole Shanahan, the vice presidential candidate running alongside Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on his independent presidential ticket, is launching a podcast and social media push as part of a broader media strategy to reach young voters ahead of the election.

Why it matters: The 38-year-old California attorney and former wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin has little political experience nor national name recognition. Her media tour is a coming-out party for her as a politician.

  • "I'm coming in fresh," Shanahan told Axios. "I have heard the comments that like I'm not getting out there fast enough, and I am moving as fast as I can. People will be seeing much, much more of me in the coming months."
  • Shanahan admitted that she "wasn't really on social media" until she joined the campaign, but she's become more engaged.

Driving the news: Shanahan's new podcast, out Wednesday, will see the vice presidential hopeful interviewing innovators and economic policy experts about various issues impacting the American experience.

  • The first episode of the "Back to the People" show will include an unscripted conversation between Shanahan and RFK Jr.
  • Other guests slated to appear on the show, which will focus on long-form conversations, include financial analyst Luke Gromen and Grace Price, an 18-year-old who has made a documentary about cancer.
  • "I will give the occasional stump speech, but my primary focus over the next six months is to be with the people," Shanahan told Axios.

The show, which is taped as a video podcast, will be available across all major platforms, including YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, X and likely Rumble, the YouTube alternative for conservative voices and free speech enthusiasts.

  • Shanahan plans to release a new episode weekly throughout the campaign and, depending on what happens in November, beyond that.
  • The show is being produced by the campaign staff. It's meant to feel informal and focused on grassroots conversations.

Zoom in: In addition to her podcast, Shanahan will focus more energy on social media outreach, especially on X.

  • "X will be kind of my primary mode of direct communication," she said.

Between the lines: Shanahan's media blitz will also serve as a critical opportunity for her to stress-test messages for RFK Jr. on the campaign trail. But it could also complicate his message.

  • Last week, RFK Jr. was asked by Bill Maher on live TV about Shanahan's recent post arguing that the Moderna vaccine should be "recalled immediately." His answer, which appeared to catch the presidential candidate off guard, reignited the news cycle around his anti-vax positioning.

What to watch: Shanahan's hoping her focus on grassroots podcasts and social media will help her and RFK Jr. continue their momentum with Gen Z voters.

  • "I think that my media strategy, you know, really connects to the demographics that might need extra layers of interpretation to understand what Bobby is saying," Shanahan said.
  • Polls show that RFK Jr. polls favorably among Gen Z and millennials, especially young men. He is one of the most popular politicians in the country on TikTok.

Go deeper: What to know about Nicole Shanahan

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Nicole Shanahan's podcast will feature Grace Price, an 18-year-old who has made a documentary about cancer.

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