Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced on Tuesday that he has tapped tech entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan as his running mate in the 2024 election. Shanahan, a former Democrat megadonor previously married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, stands to give RFK’s campaign a much-needed reputational and financial boost as the Independent seeks ballot access in order to compete with the two-party system.

At a campaign rally in Shanahan’s hometown of Oakland, California, Kennedy described his new running mate as “a champion of the growing number of millennial and Gen Z Americans who have lost faith in their future.”

Prior to announcing his pick, Kennedy also made time for a “land acknowledgment” ceremony from the Muwekma Ohlone Indian tribe.

In her own remarks, Shanahan, 38, addressed a variety of platform issues, including artificial intelligence and public health, and spoke about her own experiences growing up with a Chinese immigrant mother and raising an autistic daughter.

“I believe, very strongly, that focusing on the health and well-being of our youth is the key to a strong America,” she said. “That means honestly looking at the root causes of where childhood development is being sidelined. We have the tools to prioritize American wellness, we just need to use them.”

Shanahan graduated from Washington State’s University of Puget Sound and Santa Clara University’s law school, then founded legal technology company ClearAccessIP in 2018—the same year she married Brin. The couple eventually separated in 2021 and divorced the following year amid rumors that Shanahan had an affair with Elon Musk.

Despite her current position in the RFK campaign, Shanahan was initially not in favor of his departure from the Democratic Party. However, she has since renewed her support, throwing $4 million behind the super PAC that produced Kennedy’s 2024 Super Bowl ad.

She also previously donated to the 2020 presidential campaign of self-help author Marianne Williamson and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and she contributed $150,000 to Soros-backed Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon.

Shanahan and Kennedy primarily align on their skepticism of Big Pharma and the COVID-19 vaccine, and the new vice-presidential candidate also brings significant cash flow to RFK’s campaign—a much-needed boon given the $15 million price tag for ballot access in all 50 states.

So far, RFK has only been able to secure access in Nevada, New Hampshire, Hawaii, and Utah.

Connor Walcott is a staff writer for Follow Connor on X and look for him on VT’s “The Unusual Suspects.”

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