He said he struggled with the decision, but finds it “invigorating” to travel to the state and serve its people. Even those who don’t vote for him, he said, tell him to “appreciate you.” Kaine added that the Senate is frustrated, but they are getting some work done.
“Man, I’ve got more I want to do,” he said.
Kaine will be re-elected in a very different environment compared to his last race, when a Democrat was in the executive mansion and his opponent, Cory Stewart, turned off moderate Virginians with far-right positions and staunch support for Confederate statues. Kane won with 16 points. He defeated former Virginia Governor and Senator George Allen by 6 votes in 2012.
Although Kaine is still well-positioned to retain his seat, Republicans gained nearly 2 percentage points from Youngkin’s 2021 victory over former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and are motivated to maintain momentum.
Whether the governor himself can be a candidate for the seat remains an open question; Virginia governors cannot seek consecutive terms. Youngkin’s ambitions have come under the microscope as the governor has created two political action committees, met with megadonors and has been in a tough spot for GOP gubernatorial candidates in the midterms. Youngkin has frequently dismissed suggestions he’s interested in a White House bid — but others aren’t ruling out a Senate run.
A University of Mary Washington poll in September tested Youngkin’s Senate candidacy in a hypothetical race against Kaine, finding support among Virginia’s voting-age adults close.
For 10 years, Kaine has developed a reputation among many Republicans as an honest broker — a politician who often expresses optimism about bipartisanship and has described his personal mission as a way to undermine Congress. . He sits at the negotiating table on some of the most important pieces of legislation, sometimes working with bipartisan “groups” on bills that Senate leaders have not initially approved.
That reputation has put him at the forefront of more difficult assignments for the Senate filibuster: He has worked with fellow Catholic Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to protect abortion rights, despite her own opposition to abortion, and she has helped lead the way. The Democratic indictment of major voting rights legislation, despite not serving in relevant committees, said he hopes to change the “trajectory” of his Senate seat, which has previously been held by segregationists.
A native Spanish speaker who spends time with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras, Kaine has also prioritized immigration reform, becoming the first senator in 2013 to speak entirely in Spanish on the Senate floor.
Tim Kaine wants to ‘change’ the trajectory of his ‘Byrd seat’, long held by segregants
He sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he has relentlessly tried to rewrite the war resolutions used to launch the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq two decades ago.
Kaine has long been a political heavyweight in Virginia and beyond. He worked as an aide to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, having first been vetted by Barack Obama in 2008 before he took over as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Kaine, who first rose to prominence in the state as a civil rights lawyer, began his political career in Richmond, first as a city councilman, then mayor, and rose to the position of governor of Virginia. His firm but emotional leadership gained widespread recognition in the wake of the Virginia Tech mass shooting, an experience he said informed his push for expanded gun restrictions during his tenure in the Senate.
Kaine, who also served as Virginia’s lieutenant governor under fellow Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-WV) worked, has a degree from Harvard Law School, where he met his wife, Anne Holton, the former Virginia Secretary of Education.
Coronavirus: Long-term covid with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)
Kaine has been outspoken about the effects of long-term Covid-19 and last year sponsored legislation aimed at funding research into the condition. He described the symptoms as a constant feeling of numbness – as if “all my nerves were like five cups of coffee”, as he described the feeling last year – but stressed that the symptoms were not debilitating and did not prevent him from doing his job. .
This story will be developed and updated.
Paul Kane, Amy Gardner and Scott Clement contributed to this report.