Update: Tim Kaine will make his national debate stage debut Tuesday, as he faces off against Republican Mike Pence in the election's first and only scheduled vice presidential debate. Before you tune in, take a few minutes to learn more about the man Hillary Clinton has chosen as her number two.
This story was originally published July 23, 2016.
With the announcement of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as Hillary Clinton’s vice-presidential running mate, all the top the players are set and the 2016 election is ready to roll.
By this point in the election, we’re completely familiar with presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Last week, the nation was introduced to Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Yesterday, we got to meet Tim Kaine, who will partner with Clinton.
In the rally introducing him to the campaign in Miami on Saturday, Clinton touted Kaine as the polar opposite of their Republican rivals. "I have to say that Senator Tim Kaine is everything Donald Trump and Mike Pence are not. He is qualified to step into this job and lead on day one and he is a progressive who likes to get things done," she said.
But who is Tim Kaine? Here are four important things to know about our potential future vice president.
He’s an experienced politician who’s never lost an election.Kaine has worked at every level of government, starting as a city council member back in 1994 and moving up the ranks to be elected mayor of Richmond, the state capital of Virginia, in 1998. He then moved on to become lieutenant governor of Virginia and took on the role of governor in 2006. He held that office until 2010 and ran for the U.S. Senate in 2012. He’s served as the junior senator from Virginia for the past three and a half years.
Kaine was considered as a running mate for Barack Obama back in 2008 before ultimately being passed over in favor of Joe Biden.
He’s a moderate liberal who supports key Democratic Party issues.Kaine has supported many issues championed by the Clinton, including reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, gun safety, and immigration reform. Kaine made headlines back in 2013, when he made the first-ever speech on the Senate floor to be delivered entirely in Spanish, which he’s fluent in. He explained that his speech on immigration reform was delivered in Spanish because it was the language "spoken by more than 40 million Americans with a huge investment in the result of this debate,” NPR reported.
Kaine also has a history of supporting reproductive rights, despite his personal beliefs. A Catholic, Kaine has said that while he is personally against abortion, he believes that women should be able to make decisions about their reproductions by themselves.
"I'm a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and women being able to make these decisions,” he said in an interview with CNN. He also has a 100% rating with Planned Parenthood for his votes involving women’s health care.
His national security and foreign policy expertise are impressive.As a senator, Kaine sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Armed Forces Committee. One of Kaine’s three children is an active-duty Marine, giving him a personal investment and making him one of the few members of Congress with a child serving, according to NPR.
In a July 18 interview with Charlie Rose, Clinton said that the most important thing to her when it came to a running mate was picking the most prepared candidate she could. With Kaine’s history, he’s certainly got the qualifications.
He embraces his “boringness.”As rumors increased that Kaine was going to be Clinton’s pick, many seemed disappointed that Kaine wasn’t a firebrand, à la Elizabeth Warren, or a rising star in the party, like Julian Castro. Kaine, however, seems to think his white-bread reputation is funny.
In response to a question about his “lack [of] an exploding volcano of charisma,” on Meet the Press in late June, Kaine literally laughed it off. “I mean, they’re true,” he said of the criticisms. “I am boring. But boring is the fastest-growing demographic in this country.”
He does have one interesting hobby you should know about, however. He plays the harmonica (poorly, by his own account). “My wife is the most honest,” he told The Washington Post of his quality. “She says, ‘Hey, you ought to play anytime they ask you, because as soon as you’re not in elected office, they’re not going to ask you anymore.’”