Economy

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. expected to announce wealthy female entrepreneur as vice presidential running mate

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Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is expected to announce his presidential running mate on Tuesday.

According to several reports, Kennedy intends to name attorney and entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan as his vice presidential candidate in an announcement scheduled for Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET in Oakland, California. The New York Times and NBC News reported that Kennedy selected Shanahan after considering several possible candidates, citing sources close to Kennedy’s campaign.

The 38-year-old Shanahan is an Oakland native who was previously married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Shanahan told The New York Times last month that she contributed roughly $4 million to the Kennedy-aligned American Values 2024, to help the super PAC produce and run an ad supporting Kennedy that aired during the Super Bowl. 

Going forward, Shanahan’s wealth and ties to major donors would likely benefit Kennedy as he aims to improve his fundraising efforts.

‘RFK Jr hasn’t been looking for someone who can step up to lead in a time of crisis, he’s been looking for someone who can infuse his campaign with cash as he tries to buy his way onto the ballot to be a spoiler for Donald Trump,’ Democratic National Committee spokesperson Matt Corridoni argued in a statement to Fox News.

But Kennedy has denied prioritizing the wealth of a potential running mate’s wealth as part of his vetting process.

‘I would never choose a vice presidential candidate based on how much money they have,’ he emphasized in a recent NewsNation interview.

Kennedy, a longtime environmental activist and high-profile vaccine skeptic who is a scion of one of the nation’s most storied political dynasties, is trying to convince voters across the nation to forgo support for either of the two major political parties, and elect the first independent presidential candidate since George Washington.

It was rumored prior to the announcement that Kennedy was also considering New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura — who was elected as a third-party candidate — and ‘Dirty Jobs’ star Mike Rowe.

Choosing a vice president candidate could add a boost in support for Kennedy, though many within the Democratic establishment anticipated his campaign to wane early on. 

Kennedy initially launched his presidential bid as a Democrat last April, but he later announced an independent run in October after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) said it would not hold primary debates and was standing behind incumbent President Biden.

Democrats are worried Kennedy’s candidacy hurts Biden’s chances at being re-elected, leading the DNC to launch a team earlier this month solely dedicated to combating his presidential bid, as well as those of independent presidential candidate Dr. Cornel West, and Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein.

The naming of a running mate will likely boost Kennedy in his goal to get on the presidential ballot in all 50 states, as he needs a running mate to qualify in numerous states.

With a little over seven months to go until the presidential election, Utah is the only state where Kennedy’s name is confirmed. His campaign says he has secured enough signatures to land on the ballot in New Hampshire and Hawaii.

But on the eve of the running mate announcement, Kennedy ran into a major snag in Nevada, after state election officials said that the signatures his campaign gathered may be invalid due to a lack of a running mate. The campaign fired back, claiming that Democrats were trying to keep him off the ballot in the key western battleground state.

The latest RealClearPolitics average of polls has Kennedy reaching 15% in a three-way race against Biden and former President Donald Trump. The average shows Trump ahead of Biden by 4 points. 

A five-way race including West and Stein has Kennedy’s support at 11%, with Trump having a 2-point advantage over Biden. 

Fox News’ Danielle Wallace, Timothy H. J. Nerozzi, Joseph A. Wulfsohn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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