RFK Jr. says his VP running mate has ties to Bay Area

Independent presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. is set to announce his vice presidential pick in Oakland on Tuesday.

In an interview with KTVU, Kennedy explained why he chose to hold the event in Oakland.

"The candidate we’ve chosen has ties to the area," said Kennedy. "I also have a great affection, my father campaigned there and got tremendous support there during his 1968 presidential campaign."

The list of potential running mates included NFL quarterback Aaron Rodges, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura, and former congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Multiple outlets have reported that Oakland-born tech attorney Nicole Shanahan has emerged as the front-runner. She is a major donor to his campaign. Kennedy would not give a name but said this about who he has chosen.

"I wanted somebody who was young," said Kennedy. "Somebody who was committed to this next generation, to making sure that their voices were heard in politics. They would be a champion for young people, somebody who was committed to health, to fitness, to good living. To understanding good food to regenerative farming, to healthy agriculture and healthy living and somebody who would be a champion for mothers, particularly, who are trying to raise kids and feed them."

In recent polls, Kennedy is polling ahead of other third-party candidates, with a favorability rating often higher than President Biden and former President Trump.

"Seventy percent of Americans now say they do not want to have to choose between President Trump and President Biden," said Kennedy. "They don't want a replay of 2016. They want somebody different. I think that age and mental acuity are factors.

Kennedy has been criticized for making false and misleading claims about vaccines. However, he says he’s not anti-vaccine.

"Each one of these conspiracies when you so-called "conspiracy theories" when you deconstruct them is really about government and corporate officials trying to attack a critic by not dealing, having a debate on the science, saying he’s crazy," said Kennedy."

His comments have been criticized by physicians, the medical community, and members of his own family.

Joseph Kennedy II, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, and Maeve Kennedy McKean previously wrote, "He has helped to spread dangerous misinformation over social media and is complicit in sowing distrust of the science behind vaccines."

Four of his siblings have come out in opposition to his third-party bid. His relatives have also made their support of President Biden’s re-election campaign clear. Several members of the family posed for a photo at the White House with the president on St. Patrick’s Day.

Kennedy downplayed any family rift, saying "You know, I have a very big family. I have over 100 family members and many of them are working for my campaign. Many of them are supporting me. There are people in the camp, and, my family who work for the Biden administration are five members of my family. And that's mainly who you hear from who work for the Biden administration."

Kennedy’s challenge now is trying to get on the ballot. He said it will cost about $50 million to get on the ballot in all 50 states. His campaign says he’s on the ballot in four states so far: Utah, Nevada, Hawaii and New Hampshire.

In California, his supporters have launched the "We the People" party to get on the ticket. To be successful, they must get 75,000 people in the state to re-register with them. The campaign is sending supporters to his Kennedy 24 website.

Kennedy had this message for voters as they weigh their options in November.

"If you’re voting out of fear, if you’re voting for President Biden because you’ve been told to be fearful of President Trump or the other way around, scared of President Biden, that’s not how democracy works," said Kennedy. "You should be able to vote for someone who inspires you, who you like."