U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton picked Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate, turning to a seasoned politician from a battleground state and a figure long seen as the favorite for the slot.
Clinton announced the move Friday via Twitter, following the Republican National Convention that adjourned with Donald Trump as the GOP nominee. Democrats hoped the announcement would blunt any momentum Trump gained from his convention. Clinton is expected to campaign with Kaine on Saturday in Miami.
A campaign official said Clinton made up her mind Friday to tap Kaine. She called him at 7:32 p.m. Eastern time from Tampa, where she had appeared at a rally, the official said. After she spoke to Kaine, Clinton called President Barack Obama to notify him of her choice, the official said.
Kaine, 58 years old, is widely considered a safe choice befitting a cautious presumptive nominee, and people close to the campaign have seen him as the front-runner for months. He is broadly respected in the Senate, has a foreign-policy background, and is seen by Clinton and close aides as a strong partner in governing. He also speaks Spanish, as he displayed last week when he joined Clinton on the campaign trail for a tryout of sorts.
But his selection could come as a disappointment to the liberal wing of the party, some of which had hoped Clinton would turn to a more populist leader, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, in an effort to unite the party following a divisive primary. Kaine’s positions in favor of trade and other matters leave many progressives cold.
He was first elected to office — the Richmond City Council — in 1994, and went on to serve as mayor and then Virginia’s lieutenant governor. In 2005, he was elected governor, and in 2012, he won his Senate seat. He has never lost an election. He also served a stint as chairman of the Democratic National Committee and was on President Barack Obama’s short list for running mate in 2008.
Kaine could help Clinton with minority voters. He took a year off law school to help run a technical school founded by Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. In 2013, he delivered a speech in Spanish on the Senate floor in support of an immigration overhaul. He joined an African-American Catholic church in Richmond and was elected mayor of that majority black city. He also hails from Virginia, a battleground state, though many analysts predict he isn’t likely to greatly affect her chances there either way.
Many Democrats have long assumed Clinton would choose Kaine because of his credentials, her comfort with him and because choosing him comes with few risks.
“I am boring,” he said on NBC in June, but then joked, “Boring is the fastest-growing demographic in this country.”
Source: The Wall Street Journal