Hillary Clinton is banking on Virginia and its 13 electoral votes to deliver the White House, and is banking on new running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) to get there.
Kaine, 58, is former mayor of Richmond, Va., former lieutenant governor, former governor and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. In 2012, he defeated former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) 53-47 percent to win the seat vacated by retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.).
Kaine sits on the Senate Armed Services, Foreign Relations and Budget committees.
Clinton and her new running mate will rally in Miami together on Saturday. Clinton currently has a 4.8 point lead over Donald Trump in Virginia in the Real Clear Politics polling average.
In the run-up to her announcement today, some Dems were balking on Twitter that Kaine is too moderate.
Hence, Hillary’s email to supporters began, “Tim is a lifelong fighter for progressive causes and one of the most qualified vice presidential candidates in our nation’s history.”
“Like me, Tim grew up in the Midwest. During law school, he too took an unconventional path — he took time off and went to Honduras to work with missionaries, practicing both his faith and his Spanish,” Clinton said in the email titled “Welcome Tim Kaine.”
“When he returned to the states and graduated from Harvard Law, he could have done anything. But instead of going to some big corporate firm, he chose to fight housing discrimination as a civil rights lawyer in Richmond. He and his wife joined a church, built a home centered around their faith, and raised three beautiful children. Then, after 17 years of practicing law, Tim ran for city council — and won.”
After speaking at a Tampa rally today about Donald Trump’s “dark and divisive vision” and last night’s speech that “took it to a whole new level” with “a lot of fear and anger and resentment,” the Kaine email pitched the senator as “a man of relentless optimism” who “has never taken a job for the glory or the title.”
“He’s the same person whether the cameras are on or off. He’s sincerely motivated by the belief that you can make a difference in people’s lives through public service,” she said in the email announcement. “That quality comes through in every interaction. To know Tim is to love him. When I was talking to people about this decision, I couldn’t find anyone — Democrat or Republican — who had a bad thing to say about him. From his staff over the last 20 years to his colleagues in the Senate, Tim’s beloved.”
“He is a genuinely nice person, but Tim is no one’s punching bag. He will fight tooth and nail for American families, and he’ll be a dogged fighter in our campaign against Donald Trump and Mike Pence.”
Kaine tweeted tonight: “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!”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus panned any ability of Kaine to be a unity candidate among Democrats still peeved about Clinton’s race with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
“After spending last week pandering to grassroots Democrats with Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton has chosen someone who holds positions that she’s spent the entire primary trying to get to the left of,” Priebus said.
One of Kaine’s main issues in the Senate has been pushing for an authorization of military force from Congress for President Obama’s war against the Islamic State.
Kaine was asked on Meet the Press on June 26 if he was qualified to be vice president.
“You know what, nobody should say they’re ready for that responsibility because it is so, so huge,” he replied. “I don’t know — you know, Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t have said yes to that question, Harry Truman wouldn’t have said yes to that question, those are my two favorite presidents.”
Pressed back then about the VP speculation, Kaine said, “I have got one job and one job only right now, and that is to work hard for Hillary Clinton so she can win and especially in Virginia, that’s the area where I have been helping her and that’s the area where I’m going to help her.”
Kaine acknowledged during the show that he’s “boring,” but “boring is the fastest growing demographic in this country.”