RFK's running mate is Google co-founder's ex: Who is she?

Nicole Shanahan, Kennedy's choice for running mate, is an entrepreneur and activist

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on Tuesday named attorney Nicole Shanahan, who was previously married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, as his vice presidential pick for his independent presidential campaign.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Kennedy would name Shanahan as his running mate at a rally in Oakland, California. Shanahan grew up in Oakland, making it a likely location for Kennedy's announcement given her ties to the area. 

Shanahan, 38, is the president of the Bia-Echo Foundation, which invests in helping women bear children at older ages, in addition to criminal justice reform and environmental policies. 

Though she lacks broad name recognition in the political sphere, Shanahan brings financial firepower as well as connections to the tech industry and abortion rights activists that could be a boon to Kennedy's independent bid for the White House.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY EXPECTED TO ANNOUNCE WEALTHY FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR AS VICE PRESIDENTIAL RUNNING MATE

Robert F. Kennedy, Nicole Shanahan

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. named entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan as his running mate. (? / Getty Images)

Kennedy naming Shanahan as his running mate would help his long-shot presidential campaign's efforts to get on the ballot, given that some states require candidates to have designed a vice presidential nominee to appear on the ballot. 

The Kennedy campaign has met the signature collection requirement for ballot access in four states, although a petition in Nevada is being contested.

Last week, Kennedy told Reuters he was looking for a running mate who shares his perspective on ending the U.S. "war machine," as well as reducing the national debt and "ending the chronic disease epidemic."

DEMOCRATS RIPPED FOR TRYING TO ‘KILL DEMOCRACY’ WITH EFFORT TO PROTECT BIDEN, SILENCE THIRD-PARTY CANDIDATES

Robert F Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. said he wanted to nominate a VP from outside the political system. (John Nacion / Getty Images)

He added that it was important to find someone from outside the political system "who has good values, who has an open mind, who has high intelligence and inquisitive curiosity."

Shanahan emerged as a leading contributor to Kennedy's presidential campaign and told the New York Times that she donated $4 million to a super PAC supporting his presidential bid that aired during the Super Bowl earlier this year and was the creative force behind the ad. 

THE SILVER LINING IN KENNEDY'S RUNNING MATE ANNOUNCEMENT

Robert F Kennedy Jr., speaks

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is in the midst of a push to access the ballot in as many states as he can, with the goal of being on all 50 state ballots. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via / Getty Images)

The ad sparked controversy with some of Kennedy's family members by replicating the style of an ad from the 1960 campaign of his uncle, President John F. Kennedy – a situation that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. later apologized for.

She has also given to Democratic political candidates and the PACs supporting them over the years, including the Biden campaign in 2020 and she donated to Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016.

Shanahan married Google's Brin in 2018. They separated in 2021 and divorced in 2023. 

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Brin and Elon Musk had a falling out after a 2022 report from the Wall Street Journal indicated that Shanahan and Musk had a romantic relationship. Musk and Shanahan denied the relationship, though the Journal said it stands by its reporting.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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