Campaign Profile: Senator Tim Kaine taps Democratic energy in bid for second term

Published: Oct. 24, 2018 at 7:24 PM EDT
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A surprise visit to a northern Virginia phone bank, and Senator Tim Kaine likes what he's hearing.

"The level of engagement and energy, which we saw last year in the Virginia races in November 2017," Kaine told WDBJ7, "I've certainly seen it consistently this year."

Kaine has served six years in the U.S. Senate, but his activism started much earlier.

One of his first appearance in the WDBJ7 archives dates to 1987, when he was representing a Virginia death-row inmate and speaking with reporters outside the State Penitentiary.

"I do feel like being in public office is a natural extension, frankly, of the spiritual mission that I put myself on when I went to Honduras when I was 21 years old," Kaine said.

Kaine was born in Minnesota, but grew up in Kansas.

Now 60 years old, he was elected to Richmond City Council in 1994, and served as Mayor, Lieutenant Governor, Governor and U.S. Senator before joining the national Democratic ticket as Hillary Clinton's running mate in 2016.

Corey Stewart criticizes the Democrat as "an automatic no" on anything President Trump proposes.

"I couldn't be an automatic no, and have him sign, you know, 17 pieces of legislation that I've done," Kaine said.

And the Republican challenger questions Kaine's effectiveness.

"I know pediatric research to you is nothing," Kaine said, responding to Stewart. "I know extending rail to Dulles, you may think is nothing. You probably don't care about veterans unemployment or military spouse employment. You may think that's nothing, but Virginians think these are important priorities."

Kaine says "a Virginia that works for all," is a theme that resonates with voters across the state and across the political spectrum.

"I think we've got to have elected officials who pull people together not try to divide us," Kaine said.

Although he was reluctant to make predictions, Kaine said he hopes voters will deliver a blue wave on November 6th.

He said he expects some tight races on Election Night, and results that will send more Democrats to Congress.

WDBJ7 will continue our campaign profiles on Thursday, as we interview Libertarian candidate Matt Waters.