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RFK Jr. says he will announce his VP pick on March 26

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will announce his running mate on March 26 in Oakland, California, his campaign announced Wednesday.

“This event will be a pivotal moment in our country’s history! You will not want to miss it,” the campaign said.

In an interview Tuesday with CNN, Kennedy said he had “made up his mind” on his running mate, selected from a shortlist that included NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, whom he said he had met with recently to discuss the possibility of joining his campaign.

Other names on the shortlist included former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Republican Sen. Rand Paul and former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, a campaign spokesperson said. Kennedy told CNN he also spoke with former television host Mike Rowe, motivational speaker Tony Robbins and Tricia Lindsay, a civil rights attorney.

“We wanted somebody who was aligned with my values, optimistic about our country and its potential and able to run the country at a moment’s notice,” Kennedy said of his running mate selection.

The Washington Post was first to report that Kennedy had selected his running mate.

Kennedy held a rally in Arizona last month alongside Ventura, who ranks among the most successful third-party candidates in recent history, serving four years as Minnesota governor. At the rally, Kennedy touted his long relationship with Ventura and called him a “friend.”

“We talk often about areas of mutual interest and I’m really, really grateful for his support during this campaign,” Kennedy said of Ventura last month.

In November, Ventura said in an interview that he would “give it serious consideration” if Kennedy asked him to be his running mate, while noting that he disagreed with the presidential candidate’s stance on vaccines.

In February, Kennedy shared a photo on social media of him and Rodgers meeting and going for a hike. The NFL star made headlines after it was revealed he had misled the public about his Covid-19 vaccination status ahead of the 2021 NFL season. He repeated misinformation about how to manage symptoms of a Covid-19 infection in response to the revelations while defending his decision not to get vaccinated. Rodgers is currently under contract to play for the New York Jets next year.

Kennedy cited deadlines in several states that require him to name a vice presidential candidate to apply for ballot access as the reason for announcing his pick at this time. There are 23 states that require Kennedy to announce his running mate before petitioning for ballot access, according to data provided by the campaign.

Kennedy has repeatedly set the goal of appearing on the ballot in all 50 states and Washington, DC. He is currently on the ballot in one state, Utah, and has said his campaign has gathered enough signatures to qualify in New Hampshire, Nevada and Hawaii. A super PAC backing his White House bid has said it has collected enough signatures to qualify Kennedy for the ballot in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and South Carolina.

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.

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