Kaine tells Richmond newspaper he is content representing Virginia in the Senate
♦By Rich Shumate, Chicken Fried Politics.com editor
RICHMOND (CFP) — U.S. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia says he is through with presidential-level politics and will not run for the Democratic nomination in 2020.
Kaine made those remarks in a November 17 interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, his first in-depth interview since he and Hillary Clinton went down to defeat on November 8.
“I want to run and serve in the Senate for a long time,” Kaine said. “I was really honored to be asked by Hillary, and it was a history-making race to be the first woman nominated. And for her to do well in Virginia and win the popular vote, that is all to her credit. And I was really proud to be part of it. But I think the Catholic in me likes to go to the place where there is the most work to be done.”
Kaine told the newspaper that he would like to emulate the career path of former U.S. Senator John Warner, who represented Virginia in the Senate for 30 years before retiring in 2009. Warner never sought the presidency.
Had Kaine been willing to seek the presidency in 2020, he would have been a leading contender on the Democratic side, given his name recognition from the 2016 race.
Kaine is up for re-election in 2018. While Republicans would likely make a charge at him, Virginia has been trending Democrat in statewide races, with the governorship and both U.S. Senate seats in Democratic hands.
The Clinton-Kaine ticket carried Virginia by 5 points. It was the lone Southern state that they won.
Kaine was the only Southerner to make the ticket of either major political party this year, although 10 Southerners unsuccessfully sought their party’s nomination, including two Virginians, former Democratic U.S. Senator Jim Webb and former Republican Governor Jim Gilmore.