Robert F. Kennedy Jr. picks Nicole Shanahan as his running mate for his independent White House bid

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. chose Nicole Shanahan on Tuesday to be his vice presidential pick, adding a wealthy but nationally unknown figure to his independent White House bid that’s trying to appeal to voters disaffected by a rematch of the 2020 election.

Shanahan, 38, is a California lawyer and philanthropist who’s never held elected office. She leads Bia-Echo Foundation, an organization she founded to direct money toward issues including women’s reproductive science, criminal justice reform and environmental causes.

Kennedy, a former Democrat, made the announcement in Oakland, California, where Shanahan was raised in an impoverished family.

“Nicole and I both left the Democratic Party,” he said. “Our values didn’t change. The Democratic Party did.”

Kennedy’s campaign has spooked Democrats, who are fighting third-party options that could draw support from President Joe Biden and help former President Donald Trump. But allies for both Biden and Trump attacked Kennedy and Shanahan on Tuesday, reflecting the uncertainty about how Americans might respond to an independent ticket that has little chance of winning Electoral College votes but could draw votes across the spectrum.

Without the backing of a party, Kennedy faces an arduous task to get on the ballot, with varying rules across the 50 states. He’s picking a running mate now because about half of the states require him to designate one before he can apply for ballot access.

Kennedy has secured access to the ballot in Utah. He and an allied super PAC, American Values 2024, say they’ve collected enough signatures to qualify in several other states, including swing states Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, but election officials there have not yet signed off.

In Nevada, Democratic Secretary of State Francisco Aguilar said in a March 7 letter to independent candidates that they must nominate a vice presidential candidate before collecting signatures. The letter came days after Kennedy’s campaign announced he’d collected enough signatures in the state.




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