RFK Jr. really needs his billionaire running-mate Nicole Shanahan's money

  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s long-shot campaign is struggling.

  • He won't be at the presidential debate next week.

  • May was also the worst month of fundraising for his campaign thus far.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s long-shot presidential campaign is struggling to raise money. His billionaire running mate Nicole Shanahan has largely stopped tapping into her fortune.

According to Kennedy's latest campaign finance filing, May was its worst month of the year thus far. As The New York Times pointed out, the struggle is largely due to Shanahan's decision not to make another major splash.

Shanahan, an attorney and philanthropist, has joked that Kennedy selected her as his running mate due to her reported $1 billion fortune, most of which she amassed in her divorce from Google cofounder Sergey Brin. She has donated over $10 million to Kennedy's campaign this cycle, not including a $4 million donation she made to a super PAC for Kennedy's controversial Super Bowl ad.

Because she's Kennedy's running mate, there are no limits to the amounts she can give his campaign. But in May, she only gave roughly $25,000, all in the form of in-kind contributions with the largest category being media production.

Kennedy is facing a critical moment in his run. CNN confirmed on Thursday that he will be left off the debate stage next week between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

No third-party challenger has made a major presidential debate since Texas businessman Ross Perot in 1992. According to NBC News, Kennedy has qualified for the ballot in just nine states. His campaign is optimistic that it will reach the requirements in far more, but it can take weeks for state election officials to verify signatures and certify his status.

Trump and his allies have also stepped up their attacks on Kennedy amid signs that the noted vaccine skeptic could actually help Biden's candidacy in some states.

Outside of Shanahan, Kennedy's biggest supporter is Timothy Mellon, a pro-Trump banking heir. Mellon, who, unlike Shanahan, faces contribution limits for direct support, has routed his donations through a pro-Kennedy super PAC. According to a May filing, Mellon donated another $5 million to the group, bringing his total to $25 million thus far.

Mellon is also a major Trump supporter. He's given a similar amount to a pro-Trump super PAC.

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