Tim Kaine: From a St. Paul hospital to Hillary Clinton's running mate


Hillary Clinton's running mate has Minnesota at the tip of his roots.

Clinton Friday announced Tim Kaine – a U.S. senator for Virginia – is her vice presidential pick. And although he didn't grow up in Minnesota, he was born here. In St. Paul on Feb. 26, 1958, to be precise.

Kaine, a Democrat, has been in politics for more than two decades after a legal career. As his bio points out very early: "He is one of 20 people in American history to have served as a Mayor, Governor and United States Senator."

Here's a look at Kaine's history, and why the very likely Democratic presidential nominee picked him.

Kaine's life

Even though Kaine was born in Minnesota, he and his family did not stay for long.

Kaine grew up in the Kansas City, Missouri, area where he helped his dad in the ironworking shop, according to his Senate bio. He later went on to the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School, and practiced law in Richmond, Virginia for 17 years.

In 1994, he started serving the City of Richmond – first as city councilor, then mayor. And he moved up from there, becoming lieutenant governor of Virginia followed by governor. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, and currently serves on the Armed Services Committee, Foreign Relations Committee and Budget Committee.

And he's married, with three now-adult kids.

Why Kaine?

In announcing her new running mate on Twitter, Clinton called Kaine "a man who has devoted his life to fighting for others."

She followed that by tweeting a campaign video touting him as an optimistic problem solver and provided supporters with some background about Kaine.


USA Today notes Kaine was vetted in 2008 by Barack Obama's staff, since he was considered for the VP spot there as well. Obama's camp ultimately picked Joe Biden.

USA Today describes Kaine as a "safe pick – a moderate who appeals to independent voters and may be able to bring in more white male support."

Kaine, Politico says, "rarely takes controversial stands or makes painful gaffes, thus fulfilling the Hippocratic oath for vice presidential nominees: First, do no harm."

And while the Wall Street Journal says Kaine could be described as "low-key," he is a fluent Spanish-speaker, which could be a help with Hispanic voters.

The Kaine pick may not be a favorite of the more-liberal voters however, as the New York Times points out, with his previous stances on Wall Street regulations and global trade considered more moderate.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus picked up on that theme in criticizing Clinton's choice.

A statement from Priebus said Clinton has been dishonest with her party's base, explaining “After spending last week pandering to grassroots Democrats with Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton has chosen someone who holds positions that she’s spent the entire primary trying to get to the left of."


Will this have any effect on the election?

Hard to say right now.

If you want FiveThirtyEight's trademark measured take, the Kaine pick probably won't have any real impact on the outcome of the election.

But the author Nate Silver, says polls show Clinton with a small-ish lead over Trump in Virginia – so if Kaine boosts her numbers there, even by a couple percentage points, it's better than no boost.

Expect to see plenty of Kaine at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week.

I have no idea how to register to vote, or even vote

If you’re curious about voting, check out this voting FAQ from our sister site, GoVoteMN. It explains registering to vote, actually voting, and more.

You can check if you’re registered to vote here at the Secretary of State’s website.

And if you’re not, you can actually register online pretty quickly – click here to go to the Secretary of State’s registration page.

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