Tim Kaine: 12 Things You Should Know About Hillary Clinton’s VP Pick
Election 2016

Tim Kaine: 12 Things You Should Know About Hillary Clinton’s VP Pick

© Carlos Barria / Reuters

Update: It's official, Hillary Clinton has picked Tim Kaine as her running mate.

Hillary Clinton is preparing to announce her vice presidential pick as early as Friday. While her short list of potential running mates reportedly includes Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Labor Secretary Tom Perez and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, the leading contender is Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, according to multiple reports.

Kaine is Clinton’s safe choice. He’s seen as capable but vanilla, even boring — especially in comparison to liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Perez, who would be the first Hispanic Democratic vice presidential nominee; or Sen. Cory Booker, who would be the first African-American vice presidential nominee.

Still, in an interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose on Monday, Clinton said her priorities in a running mate are experience and preparedness. As a former mayor of Richmond, governor of Virginia and now U.S. senator, Kaine meets those criteria, though he himself has said he isn’t prepared to be president. “Nobody should ever say they’re ready for that responsibility, because it is so, so huge,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press last month.

On top of that, Kaine is unlikely to overshadow the candidate, grab the limelight or create turbulence with controversial comments — all valuable traits for a Clinton campaign that can’t any afford more scandal.

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Plus, Kaine’s home state of Virginia is also a key battleground, and adding him to the ticket could move it firmly into Clinton’s column while still keeping the Senate seat in Democratic control.

Here are 12 other things you should know about him:

1. Born Feb. 26, 1958 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Kaine is 58 — 10 years younger than Clinton.

2. He grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, where his mother was a home economics teacher and his father owned an iron-working shop.

3. Kaine graduated from the University of Missouri in three years with a B.S. in Economics and then received a J.D. from Harvard Law in 1983.

4. He took a year off from law school to volunteer with Jesuit missionaries at a vocational school in Honduras. He speaks Spanish fluently, switching between languages in many ads and campaign speeches. In a 2013 address on immigration, he became the first senator to give a speech on the Senate floor in a language other than English.

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5. Raised Catholic, Kaine has been part of the same predominantly African-American church community in Richmond for years. While personally opposed to both abortion and the death penalty, as a senator he has aligned with the Democratic platform on both issues.

6. His wife, Anne Holton, is currently the Virginia secretary of education. Her father helped integrate Virginia’s state schools, and Anne formerly worked as a legal aid lawyer and juvenile court judge. They have three children: Nat, Woody and Annella.

7. For 17 years, Kaine worked for a law practice in Richmond, focusing on representing people denied housing based on race and disabilities.

8. Kaine was governor of Virginia from 2006 through 2011. To balance the state budget, he cut social welfare programs, and he invested in infrastructure, but partisan disagreements left him unable to produce major legislation.

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9. Kaine accepted $160,000 in gifts as governor. The gifts were legal under Virginia law, and he did publicize all accounts, but Republicans may jump on that — trying to prove he’s just as corrupt as they think Hillary is.   

10. He was the second governor to endorse Barack Obama in his 2008 campaign. Kaine was also one of Obama’s top choices for vice president. The White House has endorsed him as Clinton’s pick.

11. Kaine was elected to the U.S. Senate from Virginia in 2012. He continues to serve on the Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations and Aging committees.

12. He is one of 20 Americans to have been a mayor, governor and U.S. senator. As Clinton pointed out, he’s never lost an election.