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RFK Jr. Announces Nicole Shanahan as His Vice Presidential Pick

By Adeline Von Drehle
Published On: Last updated 03/27/2024, 03:46 PM EDT

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced lawyer and philanthropist Nicole Shanahan as his running mate in his bid for the presidency. Kennedy is attempting to qualify for the ballot across the country, and about half the states require an independent candidate to file nomination papers with a running mate already named.

Shanahan is widely thought to have been chosen for her deep pockets. She has already donated more than $4 million to Kennedy’s campaign, and the 38-year-old ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin will likely need to commit much more, as the campaign has estimated that qualifying for each state’s ballot could cost $15 million. It will also call for more than 900,000 signatures nationwide.

While Shanahan has no political or executive experience, Kennedy told the crowd at his campaign event she was the best person for the job due in part to her “deep, inside knowledge” of how the technology industry uses artificial intelligence to manipulate the public and identify government abuses. Kennedy also liked Shanahan for her commitment to organic foods, because she is an athlete, and “above all” because she has “a deep love for the United States of America.”

Kennedy’s name is officially on the ballot in Utah. The campaign says it has gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in New Hampshire, Nevada, and Hawaii. Kennedy is in a race against the clock: By August, more than 21 states’ ballot access deadlines will have passed, and another 24 states’ deadlines will pass that month.

While his bid for the Oval Office is widely considered a longshot – an independent candidate has never won a presidential election – Kennedy is getting a lot of attention for his name and for the likelihood that his candidacy will hurt President Joe Biden’s reelection bid.

The RCP Average puts Biden 1.6 points behind former President Donald Trump in a two-way race, where Trump gets 46.6% support to Biden’s 45%. When Kennedy enters the race, Trump’s winning margin jumps to 5.4 points, according to the RCP Average. In the hypothetical three-way race, Trump gets 40.7% of the vote, Biden gets 35.3%, and Kennedy comes in last with 12.3% support.

Kennedy’s new VP pick and his continuing quest for ballot access will surely affect the polls, which will be of continuing interest not necessarily because Kennedy has a real shot at the White House, but because his campaign could seriously affect the two men who do.

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