Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton finally announced her vice presidential pick via a text message to her supporters on Friday.
“I’m thrilled to tell you this first: I’ve chosen Sen. Tim Kaine as my running mate. Welcome him to our team.”
The announcement did not come as much of a surprise. Political pundits and various media reports had already predicted that Clinton’s veep choice was going to come from a whittled down shortlist that included Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.
Apparently, Clinton’s husband and former president Bill Clinton, was pushing for Kaine — a former governor of swing-sate Virginia who was also a finalist to become President Barack Obama’s running mate.
So, who is he?
While Kaine may not be a household name in most parts of the country, he has been elected to three statewide offices and has served at almost every level of government — from a local city council member to a mayor and a lieutenant governor to the governor of Virginia.
He was also the chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011.
The 58-year-old is a moderate Democrat who, in this chaotic election season, appears to be a rather safe and beneficial choice for the Clinton Camp. He has a concrete record on core Democratic issues and many of his political views seem to have evolved with time.
Kaine, who supports gun control, received an “F” from the National Rifle Association while running for the Senate in 2012. During his time as governor, he vetoed a bill that would have allowed residents to carry guns in vehicles.
A gun-owner himself, Kaine has introduced gun control bills in the Senate and even participated in the house floor sit-in staged by the Democrats in the wake of the deadly shooting in Orlando, Florida. While he supports the Second Amendment, he has also maintained the need for “common sense legislation.”
The senator, who cites himself as a religious Catholic, has a mixed record on abortion.
As the governor, he supported a ban on “partial-birth abortion,” where the fetus is removed after dying at a late stage of pregnancy, and has signed a bill allowing residents to use "Choose Life" license plates.
However, since joining the senate in 2012, he has backed reproductive rights legislation and has an astonishing score of 100 percent with both Planned Parenthood and pro-choice group NARAL.
This is where things get interesting. In 2012, Kaine said, “We have a responsibility to do something” about climate change. He also opposed the Keystone XL pipeline and protected thousands of acres of land from being developed on.
But, on the other hand, he has also supported offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean and is rather popular with the fossil-fuel industry.
As the Huffington Post reports, Kaine “signed two letters on Monday urging federal regulators to go easy on banks. One to help big banks dodge risk management rules, and another to help small banks avoid consumer protection standards.”
Kaine's support for bank deregulation has caused Democracy for America's executive director to demand that he be disqualified from the VP appointment.
He also supports Tran-Pacific Partnership, which Clinton opposes.
However, despite their minor differences, Kaine, a moderate and well-liked senator, may turn out to be a crucial firewall for Clinton in November.
If the senator helps the former secretary of state out in his home state of Virginia, the Clinton-Kaine ticket will have better odds against the Trump-Pence ticket.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters