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Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has selected Nicole Shanahan, a tech industry entrepreneur and attorney, as his running mate in an effort to boost his profile and fundraising for his campaign. Shanahan, who has previously supported Democratic candidates and has ties to Silicon Valley, is seen as a strategic choice to attract voters and financial support to Kennedy’s bid for the presidency. The announcement was made at an event in Oakland, where some attendees expressed concerns about her lack of political experience and suggested that a candidate with more cash flow or different background would be more beneficial to Kennedy’s campaign.

Kennedy and Shanahan share a skepticism of the COVID-19 vaccine and have both been vocal about their concerns regarding its safety and efficacy. Shanahan’s selection as running mate came after speculation and reports that she had donated a significant amount of money to a super PAC supporting Kennedy’s campaign. While Kennedy had considered other potential running mates, including well-known figures like Aaron Rodgers and Tulsi Gabbard, he ultimately chose Shanahan for her connections to the tech industry and potential fundraising capabilities.

Kennedy’s campaign is facing challenges in gaining ballot access in all 50 states due to his independent status, with efforts underway to secure access in more states and a significant investment in ballot access funding. Despite these challenges, Kennedy is polling at nearly 10% in a five-way race, indicating potential support from voters disillusioned with a Trump-Biden rematch. Achieving ballot access will be crucial for Kennedy to gain traction in the media and potentially participate in general election debates against Biden and Trump.

Supporters of Kennedy have expressed hope that his selection of Shanahan as running mate will bring new energy and diversity to his campaign, with some suggesting that a younger or more mainstream candidate would have been a better choice. The diverse viewpoints among Kennedy’s supporters reflect the challenges and opportunities faced by his campaign, which aims to offer new ideas and approaches to address key issues such as animal welfare and public health. The selection of Shanahan as running mate was a strategic move by Kennedy to attract attention and support to his campaign, with the goal of reaching a wider audience and gaining momentum in the polls.

Looking ahead, Kennedy’s campaign faces obstacles such as gaining ballot access in more states and potentially being excluded from general election debates if he does not meet the 15% polling threshold. Supporters believe that Kennedy’s strong communication skills and unique platform could help him stand out in a crowded field of candidates, but there are concerns about his lack of Secret Service protection and the challenges of running as an independent candidate. Despite these challenges, Kennedy and Shanahan are focused on building momentum for their campaign and reaching out to voters who are searching for fresh ideas and alternative options in the upcoming election.

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