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RFK Jr. running mate Shanahan announces $8 million donation to campaign

By Eva McKend, CNN

(CNN) — Nicole Shanahan, the running mate of independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has given the campaign $8 million to help with its efforts to make the ballot in all 50 states and Washington, DC.

The wealthy Silicon Valley patent attorney announced the donation during a comedy show fundraiser Wednesday night in Nashville. According to audio of the event shared with CNN, Shanahan laughed off the suggestion that “Bobby only picked her for her money” as she argued that the capital would allow Americans to have an additional choice come November. She also said she wasn’t Kennedy’s first choice.

“Hey, right now, we are in third place but we can win. I’m proof,” Shanahan said to laughter. “I was in third place behind Aaron Rodgers and Hulk Hogan.”

In a statement Thursday, the Kennedy campaign said the additional $8 million provided by Shanahan in April will help fully fund its 50-state ballot access effort.

“The expense of ballot access — in both time and treasure — is one of the establishment’s most powerful cudgels against independent political thought,” Kennedy campaign manager Amaryllis Fox Kennedy said in the statement. “Americans demand and deserve an alternative to the broken status quo. We are thrilled to put these funds to work crossing the finish line in all 50 states plus DC.”

Shanahan, a former Democrat whom Kennedy named as his vice presidential pick in March, said in the same statement that the money was designed to help their campaign challenge “the Democrat-Republican domination of our system.”

“This isn’t just about funding our own campaign,” she said. “We want to liberate presidential elections from the grip of the existing two-party duopoly, and revitalize American democracy.”

Meanwhile, Kennedy is determined to qualify for CNN’s presidential debate next month. Both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have accepted CNN’s invitation to debate, having met the parameters for qualification set by the network.

“CNN is letting us still try to qualify. And we all know that Bobby is going to win bigly when that happens,” Shanahan told the Nashville crowd Wednesday.

To qualify for CNN’s June 27 debate, candidates must appear on enough state ballots to be eligible for at least 270 Electoral College votes and receive at least 15% support in four separate national polls that meet CNN’s polling standards. Kennedy has received at least 15% in two qualifying polls so far, and is currently on the ballot in six states, making him currently eligible for 89 Electoral College votes. The Kennedy campaign says it has gathered enough signatures to gain ballot access in eight other states.

Shanahan, a deep-pocketed investor, had previously given $2 million to Kennedy’s campaign and has said she has given $4 million to the pro-Kennedy super PAC American Values 2024 in order to help fund a Super Bowl television advertisement.

CNN’s David Wright and Aaron Pellish contributed to this report.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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