Home Politics Who Is Nicole Shanahan & How Does She Impact RFK Jr.’s Election Odds 

Who Is Nicole Shanahan & How Does She Impact RFK Jr.’s Election Odds 

by Scott Kacsmar
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Robert F. Kennedy has officially chosen his running mate as vice president for the 2024 election, and no, it is not quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Kennedy’s choice is Nicole Shanahan, an attorney, and the ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

As the top independent choice in the 2024 U.S. election, Kennedy is the first major candidate to name his vice president this year. But who is Nicole Shanahan, and how does she impact his election odds?

Before heading to the political betting sites, we’ll look at her bio below.

Who Is Nicole Shanahan?

Nicole Shanahan was born in California on September 16, 1985, meaning she will be 39 years old in time for November’s election. Her father, a white American with German and Irish ancestry, had a difficult life with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Often struggling to find work and after bouts of substance abuse, her father passed away in 2014.

Shanahan is biracial and was largely raised by her mother, who was born in China before immigrating to the United States in the 1980s where she worked as a maid and accountant. Shanahan has a brother as well.

Shanahan moved to Washington State to attend the University of Puget Sound, a private liberal arts college in Tacoma. She studied economics, Mandarin Chinese and Asian Studies while working as a paralegal and patent specialist. She then attended Santa Clara University School of Law, graduating with a J.D. in 2014.

In 2013, Shanahan was married for the first time to Jeremy Asher Kranz, an investor and finance executive from the San Francisco Bay Area. They divorced in 2015. She met Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, in the summer of 2014 at a yoga festival. The couple would get married in 2018, and have a daughter together, but they separated in 2021 and were officially divorced in 2023.

Nicole Shanahan

Shanahan’s latest romantic partner is Jacob Strumwasser, an advisor at a Bitcoin software company. She met him at the Burning Man festival in 2022, which might be the funniest attempt at selling oneself to younger voters in this election.

What Work Has Shanahan Done?

With her legal background, Shanahan has held a variety of jobs over the years. She was the founder and CEO of ClearAccessIP, a legal tech company based in Palo Alto. She sold that company to competitor IPwe in 2020.

She has been interested in AI’s role in law and the legal profession. She has been a fellow at Stanford Law School’s CodeX, Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. Shanahan has also dabbled in the film industry as the executive producer of Kiss the Ground, a 2020 Netflix documentary, and Evolver (2022), a short film.

She is also a member of the board of Carbon Royalty Corp. and invested in a biotech firm in 2023.

Shanahan is still with Bia-Echo, the private foundation she established in 2019. Her ex-husband Brin was the sole donor for years at Bia-Echo, named for Bia, the Greek goddess associated with energy. Finding a cure for autism is a main goal Shanahan has for Bia-Echo, and she said in a 2023 interview that 60% of her time was researching autism.

However, in 2019, Shanahan pledged $100 million will be invested in a 5-year period to do reproductive longevity research to help women get pregnant later in life. Shanahan has been critical of in vitro fertilization (IVF), so this research would seek other ways to help women get pregnant into their 50s.

What Are Shanahan’s Political Values?

In the past, Shanahan has been a supporter and donator to Democratic candidates.

She supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Once she knew Joe Biden was going to be the Democratic nominee in 2020, Shanahan donated $25,000 to the Biden Victory Fund and a 5-figure sum to the Democratic National Committee.

However, Shanahan was backing Robert F. Kennedy from the start in May 2023, soon after he announced his ambition to challenge Biden for the Democratic nomination in 2024. She donated $6,600 to Kennedy’s campaign, which was the maximum amount allowed.

However, in October 2023, Kennedy withdrew from the Democratic race and chose to run as an independent instead. This move disappointed Shanahan, who said she wouldn’t support him anymore.

Something changed quickly on that front, because by early 2024, Shanahan donated $4 million to a super PAC to help Kennedy finance an ad during Super Bowl LVIII in February. She reportedly had an influence on the content of the ad as well. Her money, her call.

It was not a well-received ad, as it borrowed heavily from John F. Kennedy’s 1960 campaign ad. Kennedy apologized to any of his family members who were upset by the Super Bowl ad.

On March 26, Shanahan was formally introduced as Kennedy’s pick for his vice president as an independent. She has the financial ability to back this Kennedy run, and she technically left the Democratic party to join this independent ticket.

RFK has been criticized as an anti-vaxxer for his views on vaccines. Shanahan says she is not an anti-vaxxer, but she does support RFK’s questioning of the scientific consensus on the safety and efficacy of vaccines. One of Kennedy’s most popular claims is the debunked theory that vaccines cause autism. As an autism researcher, Shanahan still supports this debunked theory, so maybe they are a match made in heaven for one another.

Shanahan has been as big of an RFK supporter as anyone. “In my opinion, he is the best presidential candidate we have on the issues close to my heart: environmental health, regenerative agriculture and social justice,” Shanahan said of RFK.

Now she has to put her money where her mouth is for him.

Does Shanahan Help Kennedy in the Election?

Shanahan does not likely hurt RFK’s candidacy in any way. She is relatively drama free as best we know to this point. She reportedly had an affair with Elon Musk, which led to Brin filing for divorce, but Shanahan and Musk have both denied that report.

She can soften RFK’s image as she is not spouting any rampant anti-vaccine rhetoric. She could perhaps help him with female voters as a credible businesswoman.

However, Shanahan’s lack of experience in the political realm is not a good thing here, and she’s unlikely to energize voters the way a wild choice like Aaron Rodgers would have done for Kennedy. Either way, the odds are dire for any 3rd-party candidate to win a presidential election in America. Just look at the odds Kennedy has to overcome here:

  • At Bovada (visit our Bovada Review to learn more), RFK is +3000 to win the presidency, trailing Donald Trump (-115), Joe Biden (+130) and Michelle Obama (+2000).
  • At BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review to learn more), Republicans and Democrats are both -110 to win the election while “Any Other Party” (RFK’s party) is at +2500 odds.
  • According to Election Betting Odds, RFK only has a 3.0% chance to win the presidency.

Shanahan is raising her profile more than anything here by entering the race. But as far as her becoming the next vice president, don’t count on it.

author avatar
Scott Kacsmar
NFL football picks are Scott Kacsmar's expertise, serving as his main focus. He has contributed to various sports websites and blogs, such as NBC Sports, ESPN Insider, FiveThirtyEight, and, JoeWager. Originating from Pittsburgh, Scott maintains a love-hate connection with the Pirates.

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