RFK Jr.  is expected to name Nicole Shanahan as its vice president
RFK Jr.  is expected to name Nicole Shanahan as its vice president

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is expected to announce Tuesday that Nicole Shanahan, a Silicon Valley lawyer, investor and political neophyte, will be his running mate in his independent bid for the presidency, according to two people close to the campaign.

The official announcement, which will take place in Oakland, California, ends a wide-ranging and eclectic search for a vice presidential candidate. Even in the past few weeks, it has evolved as Mr. Kennedy and his advisers have talked to more than half a dozen prospective candidates.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Kennedy’s campaign declined to comment. Mr. Kennedy and Ms. Shanahan did not respond to requests for comment Monday night.

Ms. Shanahan, 38, has been the latest front-runner in Mr. Kennedy’s pursuit, according to two people close to the campaign, although she has been publicly linked to his candidacy since she helped pay for a Super Bowl ad in his support.

This month, The New York Times reported that Aaron Rodgers, the NFL quarterback, and Jesse Ventura, the former Minnesota governor and onetime professional wrestler, were at the top of Kennedy’s list.

Mr. Kennedy confirmed those names in an interview at the time, adding that he had been in discussions with several others, including Scott Brown, the Republican former senator from Massachusetts; Tricia Lindsey, a lawyer who fights against vaccine mandates; and Tulsi Gabbard, the former Hawaii congresswoman and presidential candidate who left the Democratic Party to become an independent.

Mr. Kennedy and his top advisers have also spoken to Mike Rowe, host of the reality show “Dirty Jobs,” according to one person familiar with the campaign. Mr. Rowe has since spoken about those discussions in interviews.

Mr Rowe was among the people mentioned by Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, Mr Kennedy’s daughter-in-law and campaign manager, in social media post on March 16 examining reports of possible rivals. She also mentioned Mr. Rogers and Ms. Shanahan. Mediaite first reported the same day that Ms. Shanahan was the expected choice.

Mr. Kennedy was careful to indicate a choice for vice president because some states require a full ticket to be included in the petition to include independent candidates on the ballot.

Ms. Shanahan, who was once married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, has a history of donating to Democratic campaigns, including to President Biden’s 2020 election. But she gave to Kennedy’s May 2023 presidential campaign. , when he ran as a Democrat.

Mr. Kennedy announced in October that he would instead run as an independent, saying the Democratic Party had corruptly blocked his efforts to challenge Mr. Biden in the primary. Ms. Shanahan said in an interview with The Times last month, after revealing her role in the Super Bowl ad, that his decision to leave the party initially disappointed her and that she had withdrawn her support.

But she resurfaced at the beginning of the year, she said, after finding “pockets of quiet support everywhere.”

She added: “It was very, very interesting for me to hear how people were moved by his message and his willingness to be there.”

Mr. Kennedy, 70, an environmental lawyer and member of a prominent Democratic political family, has in recent years been a prominent promoter of vaccine skepticism and conspiracy theories as part of a broad anti-establishment message.

The Democratic Party has increasingly focused legal and organizational resources on fighting Mr. Kennedy — specifically, his efforts to get on state ballots — seeing his candidacy as one of the biggest threats to Mr. Biden’s re-election.

A recent Fox News national poll showed Mr. Kennedy’s approval rating at about 13 percent, taking roughly equal shares of voters from both Mr. Biden and former President Donald J. Trump. But Democrats worry that more options hurt Mr. Biden and are less likely to erode Mr. Trump’s loyal base of support.

In her interview with The Times, Ms Shanahan said she was “not anti-vaxxer”, adding that vaccines had historically been a “very useful” part of public health measures. But she offered some alignment with theories falsely linking certain childhood vaccinations to autism and other diseases, saying, “I really think the increase in vaccine-related injuries is very concerning, and I think we need to understand the mechanisms for screening.’

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