Who is Nicole Shanahan? Meet the wealthy entrepreneur RFK Jr selected as his VP running mate


Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. announced Tuesday that attorney and tech entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan will be his vice presidential running mate heading into the November general election.

A native of Oakland, California, the 38-year-old Shanahan is a philanthropist with a long history of donating to Democrat and left-leaning causes, including supporting President Biden in his 2020 election bid before switching to Kennedy when he launched his own run for the Democrat nomination last year.

Kennedy announced Shanahan by praising her insight into “how Big Tech uses AI to manipulate the public,” her athletic ability, and willingness to be a “partner” in a number of policy areas, including on securing the border.


Shanahan initially dropped her support for Kennedy after he decided to run as an independent, but later got behind him again by giving $4 million to the super PAC that boosted his candidacy with a John F. Kennedy-themed campaign ad that ran during the Super Bowl in February.

Shanahan also previously donated to Democrat presidential candidates Marianne Williamson and Pete Buttigieg during the 2020 presidential race, and threw more than $150,000 behind progressive Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon’s 2020 election bid.

She is the founder and president of Bia-Echo Foundation, a private firm that describes its mission as focused on “new frontiers in reproductive longevity & equality, criminal justice reform and a healthy & livable planet.” 

Shanahan was previously married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, a marriage that ended following reports she had an affair with Tesla and X CEO Elon Musk, which both of them deny. She has one daughter from her marriage with Brin.

Shannahan, Brin

Following her divorce from Brin, Shanahan met partner Jacob Strumwasser, who works for bitcoin software company Lightening Labs. The two participated in a “love ceremony” last year to celebrate the commitment to their relationship.

Shanahan’s wealth and ties to major donors would likely benefit Kennedy as he aims to improve his fundraising efforts.

“I want a partner with strong ideas of how to reverse those dire threats to democracy and to our freedoms. I managed to find a technologist at the forefront of AI. She has spent the last decade relying on neural networks, artificial intelligence, and cutting edge science, to identify abuses in our government,” Kennedy said of Shanahan.

He described her as “a woman who grew up right here in Oakland. The daughter of migrants who overcame every daunting obstacle and went on to achieve the highest levels of the American dream” and as “a fellow lawyer, a brilliant scientist, technologist, a fierce warrior mom.”

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