RFK Jr. Taps Nicole Shanahan as Running Mate in White House Bid

(Bloomberg) -- Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is tapping philanthropist and technology entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan as his running mate, a move that offers to boost his independent presidential bid among women and Democratic voters.

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“I wanted someone who was battle-tested, able to withstand criticism and the controversy,” Kennedy said his campaign would face Tuesday. “I wanted an advocate who has seen corruption of our regulatory agencies firsthand, who shares my indignation about it.”

Kennedy, who has mounted a long-shot third-party challenge to President Joe Biden and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, announced the decision at an event in Oakland, California.

Shanahan, 38, is the California-based founder and president of the Bia-Echo Foundation, a nonprofit that provides grants for work on issues including criminal justice, the environment and reproductive rights.

Shanahan is a prominent investor in Silicon Valley circles and was previously married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin. She previously founded ClearAccessIP, a firm that helped patent owners manage intellectual property rights and was later acquired by rival IPWe in 2020. She has been a registered Democrat and donated to the party’s political candidates. She is also a donor to Kennedy’s campaign.

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Kennedy’s presence in the race is worrying both Trump and Biden allies who are concerned he could draw support from key independent voters. Kennedy notches 9% support in swing states, according to a March Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll released Tuesday.

Kennedy, who is the son of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy, is attractive to some Democrats because of his family ties. But he also is staunchly anti-vaccine and a proponent of some widely debunked conspiracy theories, which aligns with some views prevalent in the Republican party.

Shanahan’s addition to the ticket could make Kennedy’s candidacy more palatable to left-leaning voters turned off by his vaccine skepticism.

The daughter of a Chinese-born mother who worked as a maid, Shanahan has talked about growing up on public assistance. According to her LinkedIn profile, she graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Washington state, where she studied economics, Asian studies and Mandarin Chinese.

She earned her law degree at Santa Clara University, doing a stint as an exchange student at the National University of Singapore.

--With assistance from Stephanie Lai.

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