Advertisement

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Announces Nicole Shanahan as His 2024 Running Mate

Shanahan, a Silicon Valley lawyer and entrepreneur, routinely backed Democratic candidates before joining Kennedy's independent White House ticket

<p>Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; Gonzalo Marroquin/Getty</p> Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Nicole Shanahan

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; Gonzalo Marroquin/Getty

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Nicole Shanahan

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. named Nicole Shanahan, a California-based tech attorney and entrepreneur, as his vice presidential pick on Tuesday in his independent bid for the White House.

Speaking in Shanahan's hometown of Oakland, Kennedy Jr. introduced his new running mate, saying he set out looking for someone who was "battle tested" to join his ticket: "I wanted a partner who … possesses the gift of curiosity; an open, inquiring mind; and the confidence to change even her strongest opinions in the face of conflicting evidence."

“I found all of those qualities in a woman who grew up right here in Oakland. The daughter of immigrants who overcame every daunting obstacle and went on to achieve the highest levels of the American dream,” he said.

<p>Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; Gonzalo Marroquin/Getty</p> Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Nicole Shanahan

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; Gonzalo Marroquin/Getty

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Nicole Shanahan

Related: RFK Jr. Is Now Running for President as an Independent After Democratic Campaign Failed to Take Off

Shanahan joins Kennedy — who is the 70-year-old nephew of late President John F. Kennedy and son of late U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy — in challenging presumptive major party nominees Joe Biden and Donald Trump. She has previously been a political donor to numerous Democratic campaigns.

Though Kennedy comes from an iconic family of Democrats, he announced last October that he was leaving the Democratic Party and would be running for president as an independent. Several members of his family have distanced themselves from his controversial views and continued expressing support for Biden in the 2024 election, as Kennedy targets voters who are distrustful of media, corporations and the government.

Related: Robert F. Kennedy's Campaign Slammed as 'Dangerous to Our Country' in Statement from 4 of His Siblings

Joe Scarnici/Getty Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the grandson of RFK, is running for president as an independent in 2024
Joe Scarnici/Getty Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the grandson of RFK, is running for president as an independent in 2024

Shanahan's background is in law and, after working as a paralegal and graduating from Santa Clara University School of Law in 2014, she earned a fellowship at CodeX, the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics.

She would go on to found patent platform company ClearAccessIP, which she sold in 2020.

While she has never run for office, 38-year-old Shanahan has been politically active for years and, as the Los Angeles Times reports, helped produce and pay for the commercial for Kennedy that aired during the Super Bowl in February.

Related: Kerry Kennedy Speaks Out on Bobby's Presidential Bid: 'Love My Brother, but Do Not Share or Endorse His Views'

Shanahan came into the public spotlight in 2018, when she married Google co-founder Sergey Brin, one of the world's wealthiest men. The two had a daughter and separated in 2021, and Brin filed for divorce in June 2022.

Taylor Hill/Getty Nicole Shanahan and ex-husband Sergey Brin attend a 2019 event in Mountain View, California
Taylor Hill/Getty Nicole Shanahan and ex-husband Sergey Brin attend a 2019 event in Mountain View, California

Shortly after, the Wall Street Journal reported that the split had been triggered by an affair that Shanahan had with Brin’s close friend, Tesla founder Elon Musk. Shanahan has strongly denied the affair and, speaking to PEOPLE in a 2023 interview, called the allegations "debilitating."

“I remember feeling like everything I had ever worked for was under siege by a press cycle that had no idea what was going on in my life," Shanahan said at the time, "and who I was.”

In July 2023, Shanahan committed to partner Jacob Strumwasser, a vice president at Lightning Labs and a "reformed Wall Street guy," as she described him to PEOPLE.

Related: Nicole Shanahan Pens Personal Essay After Elon Musk-Sergey Brin Scandal: 'I've Found Strength' (Exclusive)

In a personal essay penned for PEOPLE, Shanahan opened up about her challenging childhood in Oakland, where she grew up on welfare with a father who suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and a Chinese immigrant mother who struggled to make ends meet before becoming an accountant.

"In many ways, I was perfectly trained as a child to get through this chapter of my life — the frenetic weight of a mentally ill father and a shell-shocked mother taught me to lean into a personal sense of self that has been bullishly cultivated through times of chaos," Shanahan wrote in the essay. "Bad things happen, injustice happens, but there are always tools for overcoming them, it’s a matter of relentless commitment to oneself."

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.