US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) campaigns with Democratic Senator from Virginia Tim Kaine (R), at Ernst Community Cultural Center at the Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale campus, in Annandale, Virginia, USA, 14 July 2016.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Friday, July 22, 2016, 8:43 PM
Hillary Clinton has selected Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) as her running mate, adding a battle-tested if unexciting swing-state senator to the ticket.
“I’m thrilled to tell you this first: I’ve chosen Sen. Tim Kaine as my running mate,” Clinton texted supporters around 8:10 p.m. Friday.
Kaine soon tweeted, “Just got off the phone with Hillary. I’m honored to be her running mate. Can’t wait to hit the trail tomorrow in Miami!”
Clinton called Kaine around 7:40 p.m. to give him the good news, CNN said. Kaine was in Rhode Island at a fundraiser for Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.).
Clinton and Kaine are set to appear together at a campaign appearance Saturday in Miami.
Kaine, a former governor who remains popular in his battleground home of Virginia, is a proven and well-vetted Democratic foot soldier who’s well respected throughout the party and has national campaign experience.
He has both executive and foreign policy experience. The worst thing most Democrats have to say about him is that he’s boring – a characterization Kaine, 58, himself agrees with.
Clinton told CBS’ Charlie Rose earlier this week that Kaine was a “world-class mayor, governor and senator,” pointing out that he’d never lost an election.
Kaine is a devout Catholic with working-class roots and close ties to his state’s African American and Latino communities. He’s attended a predominantly black Catholic church in Richmond for decades, and began law his career fighting for fair housing for Richmond’s African American community. He also speaks fluent Spanish, a skill he he picked up during his time as a missionary in Honduras.
“He’s very much driven by that Catholic sense of social justice, of trying to help others. You’ve seen that his whole life – as a missionary, as a young civil rights attorney in the capitol of the confederacy, where he took a bunch of fair housing cases,” said Mo Elleithee, a longtime Kaine strategist who worked on Clinton’s 2008 campaign. “He’s truly a servant at heart.”
Clinton is expected to make the official announcement during a joint campaign swing through Florida Saturday.
Kaine in some ways is like a more predictable, less excitable Joe Biden.
Both have political views deeply rooted in Catholic social justice doctrine, are known for their ability to work across the aisle, and have foreign policy experience, having served on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee (Biden was a longtime chairman).
A native Midwesterner, Kaine was born in Minnesota and grew up in Kansas City, where his dad owned a welding business. He has a personal style and demeanor closer the heartland than the South – and could serve a similar role for Clinton as Biden did for Obama, heading to more populist, culturally conservative areas where his running mate is less than beloved.
“He’s maybe not electrifying but people get enough electricity these days. He’s engaging, he can draw you in with his understated presence,” said Elleithee.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., arrives for a roundtable discussion on immigration reform at Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington in Arlington, Va., Thursday.
(Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo)
Kaine is unlikely to do much to woo still-wary former Bernie Sanders supporters – he, like Clinton, has backed some more interventionist foreign policy moves like a no-fly zone in Syria and has supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the past, and he’s a moderate on many social issues.
But the Virginian has proven adept at carrying the water for his party’s nominee in the past, serving as a top Obama surrogate in 2008 then having a solid run as chairman of the Democratic National Committee during President Obama’s early years in office (few Democrats think deserves blame for their 2010 electoral wipeout).
He’s also a bridge between the Obama and Clinton wings of the party. Kaine, an early Obama endorser in 2008 who was a finalist in Obama’s own veepstakes decision – only to be edged by fellow Irish Catholic Joe Biden. He remains close to the president, who reportedly has touted him as a good choice for running mate to Clinton. He was an early and vocal supporter of Clinton this time around, being one of the first big-name Democrats to throw his support behind the “Ready for Hillary” draft movement two years ago. His chief of staff, Mike Henry, is a Clinton alum, and the two have swapped a number of staffers over the years.
Kaine could also serve as a powerful surrogate on gun control. A gun owner himself, Kaine has long supported modest gun control reforms, dating back to his time as mayor of Richmond. He didn’t back away from that stance, very controversial in his once-GOP leaning state (the home of the NRA), when he ran statewide in 2001. He’s cited the Virginia Tech massacre as the worst day of his life. In its aftermath he signed an executive order to make it harder for the mentally ill to buy guns, and unsuccessfully pushed for universal background checks in his state.
Kaine personally opposes abortion and the death penalty. But he’s a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood and legal abortion, and followed through on a campaign promise to continue executions as Virginia governor. He was relatively late in endorsing gay marriage compared to other prominent Democrats, though not much later than Clinton – and has been a vocal supporter ever since.
He also has a reputation as a bipartisan consensus-seeker. He worked effectively with a GOP-controlled statehouse in Richmond and joined Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to craft an Authorization for Use of Military Force to define the fight against ISIS.