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Thursday, March 10, 2011

He's Tanned, He's Rested, But is Kaine Ready to Run for Senate?

Roll Call Politics reports that Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine just returned from vacation and this weekend will return to the part of the Commonwealth where he first announced he would run for Governor.  Kaine will attend a tribute dinner for ex-Rep. Rick Boucher in Southwest Virginia, who was upset in last year's election by now-Rep. Morgan Griffith.  Some of the state Democratic party elite believe that Kaine will throw his hat in the ring.
Former state party Chairman Dick Cranwell of Roanoke said he believes Kaine will run. He said ex-Sen. George Allen, who is likely to win the Republican party nod despite facing a primary challenge, should not expect an easy race. Cranwell and others believe President Barack Obama, a close friend of Kaine’s who will attempt to win Virginia’s 13 electoral college votes a second time in 2012, would boost the Democratic candidate on the ticket, and vice versa.

“Tim understands how important it is for the president to carry Virginia in this next go around, and he helps with that for sure,” Cranwell said.
Others closely associated with Kaine also think he will run.  Kaine’s father-in-law, one-time Republican Governor turned Democrat, Linwood Holton, has been urging him to run and Virginia's junior Senator Mark Warner has mounted a more public pressure campaign, telling Virginia Democrats at their annual Jefferson Jackson Day dinner last month that he wants his friend to join him in Washington, D.C.

All of this focus on Kaine underscores the fact that Democrats believe he may be their only candidate with the opportunity to hold on the the seat currently held by Jim Webb.

But this is sure, no matter who is the nominee of either party, the fate of the senate race will closely tract the outcome of the presidential race in Virginia.

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