Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia to seek re-election

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US Senator Tim Kaine The 2016 Democratic vice-presidential candidate and a fixture in Virginia politics for decades, said Friday he will seek re-election next year, easing his party's concerns about holding on to a seat in a state now led by a Republican governor. .

Kaine, 64, said he had grappled with the decision because of the length of the potential commitment: a two-year campaign and a six-year term. He said that ultimately he feels he has more to accomplish.

I am a servant. I love Virginia. I am proud of what I have done. I have a lot more I want to do,” Kaine said after meeting with a dozen young advocates, state employees and political staffers at a roundtable in Richmond, her long-time home.

Speaking with his wife, Anne Holton, by his side, Kaine said President Joe Biden did not personally press him to seek a third term, but other Senate Democratic colleagues encouraged him to run.

Kaine's retirement would have dealt a major blow to Democrats in practice and policy in a swing state that is cherished by both parties. Kaine, the former governor and lieutenant governor of Virginia, will enter the race as the top favorite in a mandatory seat for Democrats facing a difficult map of the Senate in 2024 .

While Virginia has become increasingly liberal over the past decade, Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe in the 2021 gubernatorial race, part of a slate of statewide Republican candidates elected that year.

Ahead of 2024, Kaine said he's preparing for a tough race and considers Virginia a battleground, "maybe a little bit on the blue side."

“Look, Governor Younkin's success and state run in 2021 shows you that, hey, Virginians will vote Republican in state elections,” he said. "Nobody can take that for granted."

Virginia Democrats and many of Kaine's Senate Democratic colleagues applauded his announcement. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Kaine "has fought tirelessly for her home state and for working families and I am confident her best years are yet to come."

Maggie Abboud, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Senate Committee, said in a statement that Virginians have shown that they are willing to "vote Republican with the right candidate and the right political environment."

“We are going to keep a close eye on Virginia and focus on recruiting a strong candidate who can raise the necessary resources to compete,” Abboud said.

At least two Virginia Republicans have shown interest in the race or have committed to running.

Eddie Garcia, a military veteran from Northern Virginia, recently announced his candidacy. And on Friday, Tim Saler, an adviser to former congressional candidate Hung Cao, said in an emailed statement that Cao was honored by the "many Virginians who encouraged him to consider a candidacy."

Cao, a retired Navy captain and Vietnamese immigrant, ran vigorously but unsuccessfully against Rep. Jennifer Wexton last year in a blue-leaning northern Virginia district.

Speculation swirled about Kaine's future after he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch earlier this month that he hadn't made a decision on whether to run again. Kaine said he had come up with an idea of ​​his way forward last week but kept it under wraps, telling three staff members just two days ago and the rest at 9 p.m. Thursday night. .

Kaine, nearing three decades in public office, is better known nationally as Hillary Clinton's running mate in the 2016 presidential election, a race they lost to Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

He started in public office on the Richmond City Council in the 1990s. He served four terms, including two as mayor.

He was then elected lieutenant governor and then governor, serving from 2006 to 2010. Virginia uniquely limits its chief executive officers to one term.

Kaine was first elected to the Senate in 2012, defeating Republican George Allen after a bitter and expensive race. His 2018 race against far-right Republican candidate Corey Stewart was far less competitive; Kaine won by 16 percentage points.

Kaine is seen as a passionate but pragmatic senator and is known as a serious policymaker and enthusiastic partner on legislation.

After his high-profile turn on the 2016 Democratic presidential ticket, he returned to work in the Senate, often appearing in dark jeans during the coronavirus pandemic as an air of informality swept through the Capitol.

His own bout with the coronavirus led to what he described as "prolonged, mild symptoms of COVID," while Lobby for research funding and the care of people with the disease.

As a senator, Kaine fought against automatic federal budget cuts, worked to reduce unemployment among veterans, and sought federal recognition for Virginia's Native American tribes. She recently lobbied for passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

He said he hopes to find progress on education and workforce issues, immigration, mental health care and the fight against opioid addiction and overdoses if voters decide to send him back to Washington next year.

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