Nicole Shanahan Named as Running Mate by RFK Jr., Silicon...
Nicole ShanahanNicole Shanahan Named as Running Mate by RFK Jr., Silicon Valley Attorney

Introduction

Azad presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. nominated attorney and tech entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan as his running mate at a rally in Oakland, California, on Tuesday. Kennedy said, “I’m feeling very proud to introduce, my running mate Nicole Shanahan for the next Vice President of the United States, a brilliant scientist, technologist, a fierce warrior mom.” Shanahan joining the team will help Kennedy’s campaign expand its presence on ballots across numerous states.

Nearly half of the states require a nominee for vice president to be named to advance the campaign. Nicole Shanahan will also be tasked with helping expand Kennedy’s appeal and raise funds to advance the ambitious campaign, which some speculations suggest the 38-year-old heir, who married Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, could finance from his own pockets.

Kennedy’s Choice: Shared Values

Kennedy stated that they chose Nicole Shanahan partially because they wanted someone with whom they shared common values in agriculture, healthcare, and big tech. They also shared Kennedy’s vision of how leaders should conduct themselves. “I wanted someone who was organized but had the gift of curiosity, an open, inquiring mind, and the confidence to change their strongest opinion even with conflicting evidence. I wanted someone with a spiritual aspect, compassion, ideals, and most importantly, a deep love for the United States of America,” Kennedy said.

While major party presidential candidates typically announce their vice presidential picks closer to their party’s nominating convention in the summer, Kennedy is moving ahead to transition his campaign into the next phase of efforts to gain ballot access.

Kennedy’s Ambitious Ballot Goal

Kennedy's Choice
Kennedy’s Ambitious Ballot Goal

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the son of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, decided to be on the ballot in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Currently, he is only listed on the ballot in Utah. His campaign has said they’ve collected enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in New Hampshire, Nevada, and Hawaii, while a super PAC supporting his White House bid has gathered enough signatures in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and South Carolina to make Kennedy eligible.

Kennedy’s campaign announced Tuesday that they are “already actively collecting signatures in 17 states and will begin organizing their petition drive in an additional 19 states this week where the filing deadlines are open and a vice-presidential candidate is required.” In his remarks on Tuesday, Nicole Shanahan said they intend to focus their efforts on the next seven months of their lives to help Kennedy achieve ballot access. However, Kennedy’s ballot access in Nevada could be in jeopardy. On Monday, the spokesperson for Nevada’s Democratic Secretary of State said there had been a “mistake” in delivering guidance on obtaining ballot access for the campaign. The law requires candidates to nominate a named individual for vice president on their petitions.

Ballot Access Dispute Claims

Paul Rossi, Kennedy’s ballot access attorney, suggested that Democratic operatives in Nevada are trying to block the Democratic candidate from gaining ballot access in the state – a claim the Secretary of State’s office rejected. Spokeswoman Cecilia Hasten said, “Any initial missteps or subsequent legal guidance were not made with intent to benefit or disadvantage any political party or candidate.” Multiple challenges to ballot access from Democrats, who are trying to pressure Kennedy, who they view as a spoiler candidate, have arisen, presenting hurdles that Kennedy’s campaign must navigate.

The Democratic National Committee has filed two complaints with the Federal Election Commission in the past two months, alleging Kennedy’s super PAC, American Values 2024, violated campaign finance laws by coordinating illegally with Kennedy’s campaign to drive his ballot access effort. Last week, the Hawaii Democratic Party objected to Kennedy’s ballot access request, temporarily blocking it from consideration on Thursday at the state’s Elections Commission hearing.

Democratic Party Criticism Exchange

Both Kennedy and Nicole Shanahan, who collaborated in Biden’s 2020 election efforts, aimed at the Democratic Party on Tuesday, with Nicole Shanahan accusing Democrats of “losing their way.” “I’m leaving the Democratic Party,” Shanahan told a crowd of hundreds in Oakland. “I believe they’ve lost their way.” Nicole Shanahan could play a role in boosting fundraising efforts as Kennedy’s campaign navigates the costly process of ballot eligibility and campaigns against both Biden and Trump in the general election, each of which diminishes the total amount available for Kennedy team fundraising. 

The recent FEC reports reveal that the Kennedy campaign raised just $3.2 million in February, spending almost $2.9 million, with a balance of around $5.1 million in the bank. American Values 2024 spent $8.8 million in February, including $6.2 million on TV ads aired during the Super Bowl. Nicole Shanahan told The New York Times last month that he contributed nearly $4 million to the PAC for advertising and to support commercial production.

Wealth Influence Denial Statement

Nicole Shanahan and Robert F-Ken
Wealth Influence Denial Statement

Kennedy has denied favoring potential donors’ wealth when considering endorsements during his run. “I will never base the selection of a vice presidential candidate on how much money they have,” the candidate told News Nation in an interview last week. Beyond collecting signatures in more than half of the remaining states, Kennedy needs to show more insight into the types of voters he’s targeting with his vice presidential announcement. In an interview, Kennedy said his running mate “will be someone who resonates with my values, has hope for our nation and its ability to lead with a moment’s notice.” 

Kennedy told supporters on Tuesday that he chose Shanaan to appeal to young voters and “working-class folks” whom he hopes will unite the coalition. “I want Nicole Shanahan Thousand-Year and General Zeid to champion the growing number of Americans who have lost confidence in their future and lost pride in our country,” he said. “They’re advocating for all Americans who’ve faced tough decisions like whether to fuel up their car or skip meals or who feel the squeeze when they see grocery prices rising at the checkout,” he stressed.

Potential Running Mate Considerations

Kennedy has also considered high-profile figures for running mate roles, including former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, former Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Republican Senator Rand Paul, former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, former television host Mike Rowe, activist speaker Tony Robbins, and civil rights attorney Tricia Lindsay.

While Kennedy has never held public office, he has mobilized a small group of supporters against the influence of money on public health mandates and the impact of money on decisions made by government and private corporations. He founded Children’s Health Defense, an organization that spreads anti-vaccine misinformation regularly and has promoted vaccine-resistant conspiracy theories in his campaign programs.

Nicole Shanahan Contradicts Kennedy’s Beliefs

Nicole Shanahan contradicted some of Kennedy’s anti-vaccine beliefs on Tuesday, clearly advising against returning to his vaccine-resistant beliefs, saying “medications like hydroxychloroquine” could be included in increasing rates of autism diagnoses. She spoke of her own experiences researching children’s health when her daughter was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. “Medications have their place, but no study can predict the overall effects of one prescription over another and one shot over another shot on a child’s upper shot during childhood. We’re not doing that study yet, and we should,” Nicole Shanahan said.

Kennedy’s presidential bid began as a fundamental challenge to Biden in April 2023. He withdrew from the Democratic contest in the late fall to run as an independent, saying he wanted to challenge the two-party system, which he said failed to provide Americans with viable options. Criticized by members of the Kennedy family for his decision to challenge Biden for the presidency, Kennedy’s decision to challenge Biden for the presidency has been criticized by members of the Kennedy family – some of whom joined him last week at the White House for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

As Kennedy pursues his independent presidential bid, he’s engaging in talks with the Libertarian Party, whose convention he attended last year. According to familiar sources, he met again with party chair Angela McArdle in February. Kennedy said earlier this year that he’s “very comfortable with most of the Libertarian Party’s positions.”

Conclusion

In conclusion, Kennedy aimed his campaign to amplify the voices of disillusioned Democrats and Republicans alike. He dismisses concerns that his candidacy could spoil the race for either major party, asserting that his disruptive approach will challenge President Biden and former President Trump. However, Bernard Thames, an expert on third-party movements, suggests that Kennedy’s choice of a running mate, Nicole Shanahan, may not significantly alter the political landscape.

Historically, vice-presidential candidates have had little sway, particularly for candidates outside the two major parties. According to Thames, Americans have generally shown little enthusiasm for candidates unaffiliated with the major parties, indicating that Kennedy’s selection, including Nicole Shanahan, may have little impact on the election dynamics.

FAQs

  1. Who is RFK Jr.’s running mate?

Ans:    Silicon Valley attorney Nicole Shanahan.

  1. Why did RFK Jr. choose Nicole Shanahan?

Ans:    He shares common values with her in various fields like agriculture, healthcare, and big tech.

  1. When do major party presidential candidates typically announce their vice presidential picks?

Ans:    Closer to their party’s nominating convention in the summer.

  1. What is RFK Jr.’s goal regarding ballot access?

Ans:    To qualify for the ballot in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  1. How did Nicole Shanahan respond to Democrats on Tuesday?

Ans:    She accused them of “losing their way” while aiming at the Democratic Party.

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