RFK Jr’s running mate Nicole Shanahan just boosted campaign with $8m donation

RFK Jr’s running mate, Nicole Shanahan speaks to attendees during a campaign rally in Austin, Texas (Getty Images)
RFK Jr’s running mate, Nicole Shanahan speaks to attendees during a campaign rally in Austin, Texas (Getty Images)

Robert F Kennedy Jr’s running mate Nicole Shanahan announced that she would pump an additional $8m into the campaign as they seek to get on the ballot in more states, The New York Times reported.

Ms Shanahan made her announcement during a comedy show fundraiser at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The announcement brings Ms Shanahan’s total contribution level to the Kennedy campaign to $10m. She also contributed $4m to a super PAC to pay for a television ad that aired during the Super Bowl.

“I think I know what they’re going to say – they’re going to say Bobby only picked me for my money,” Ms Shanahan said. The event featured Russell Brand as well as former Saturday Night Live cast members Rob Schneider and Jim Breuer.

“This isn’t just about funding our own campaign,” she said in a press release, according to Politico. “We want to liberate presidential elections from the grip of the existing two-party duopoly, and revitalise American democracy.”

Mr Kennedy, the son of the late Democratic attorney general and senator, is seeking to win ballot access in all 50 states since he announced he would not challenge President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination, but would instead launch an independent bid for president. The Democratic Party and other allies have sought to challenge the Kennedy campaign since many consider Mr Kennedy’s bid to be a spoiler effort.

In March, Mr Kennedy announced Ms Shanahan as his running mate after much speculation about whom he would pick. Previously, she had given to Democrats such as Representative Ro Khanna, Hillary Clinton and Mr Biden.

The ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Ms Shanahan has also amassed a significant fortune after she sold her patent technology company.

Ms Shanahan’s personal wealth has proven to be a valuable asset. Campaign finance law caps $6,600 per individual, but candidates can contribute an unlimited amount to their own campaign.

Mr Kennedy criticised Mr Biden and former president Donald Trump’s recently-announced debate, claiming that they are intentionally excluding him.

“Presidents Trump and Biden are colluding to lock America into a head-to-head match-up that 70 per cent say they do not want,” he wrote. “They are trying to exclude me from their debate because they are afraid I would win. Keeping viable candidates off the debate stage undermines democracy.”

The two debates will take place in June and September on CNN and ABC, respectively. Candidates must appear on enough ballots to receive 270 electoral votes and must have at least 15 per cent in four national polls of registered or likely voters that meet CNN’s standards.

“Forty-three per cent of Americans identify as independents,” RFK Jr said on X. “If Americans are ever going to escape the hammerlock of the two-party system, now is the time to do it. These are the two most unpopular candidates in living memory.”

Ms Shanahan also cheered on her running mate.

“When @RobertKennedyJr debates these two troubled Presidents, he will win bigly,” she said.