Jul. 22, 2016 8:57pm Tré Goins-Phillips
Hillary Clinton has made her choice: Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine will serve as the presumptive Democratic nominee’s running mate.
Hours after a rally in Tampa, Florida, where Clinton took the stage alone, the campaign used a text message and social media posts to announce that Kaine, a centrist lawmaker from a swing state, was her pick for vice president. The revelation came as Kaine was leaving a fundraiser for a fellow Democratic senator in Newport, Rhode Island.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., participate in a rally at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., Thursday, July 14, 2016. Kaine has been rumored to be one of Clinton’s possible vice president choices. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
The decision came after months of deliberations between Clinton and her top advisors over several different candidates who could handle the post in a sure-to-be unpredictable general election campaign against Republican opponents Donald Trump and Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana.
Kaine, the 58-year-old former governor of Virginia, was almost President Barack Obama’s running mate nearly eight years ago. Today, he sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and speaks fluent Spanish — something he, as a Catholic, learned years ago while on the mission field.
While some may wonder why the former secretary of state didn’t choose a more exciting candidate, Clinton told PBS she is “afflicted with the responsibility gene,” and felt no pressure to double down on the historic nature of her campaign by choosing a female or minority running mate.
Kaine, personally opposed to abortion but doesn’t want to see it outlawed, finds common ground with his new boss on issues of foreign policy, education and criminal justice. In addition, the pair is said to enjoy getting down in the weeds of policy-making. “I do have a fondness for wonks,” Clinton told PBS.
Asked if she felt Kaine was “boring,” Clinton had only one thing to say: “He’s never lost an election.”
But in the minds of the Republican Party, Kaine is just more of the same.
“Ultimately, this is a ticket that represents one thing: four more years like the last eight, just with more corruption and scandal,” Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement Friday night. “A Clinton-Kaine administration will push our country further down the path President Obama has led us on and that has made us less safe, less prosperous, and less free.”
However, given the fact so many independents — and quite a few conservatives — are unsatisfied with Trump as the Republican presidential nominee, Kaine could be the pragmatic pick necessary to woo some moderate Republicans over to the Clinton camp. By the same token, he Virginia senator could leave some staunchly liberal Democrats unhappy with his support of free trade agreements.
Growing up, Kaine was the son of a welder who owned a small metalworking shop in Kansas City. He attended a Jesuit boarding school and took a break from law school to go onto the mission field in Honduras — a trip his family said shaped who he is today.
Clinton and Kaine are expected to make their first official joint appearance as the Democratic duo during a Miami rally at noon on Saturday at Florida International University, which boasts a heavily Hispanic student population. Following the weekend, the pair will go into the Democratic National Convention Monday in Philadelphia.