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Is Sen. Tim Kaine on Hillary Clinton's Veep Short List?


Is U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s short list of possible vice presidential running mates?

The Clinton campaign said Thursday it won’t engage in any vice presidential speculation. Kaine also doesn’t want to talk about it, his office said.

But among political scientists and some Democrats, there’s a general view that they would be surprised if Kaine was not being considered.

“Oh, he’s on the list. I don’t care what anybody says,” said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political science professor who has written several books on national elections.

“He’s got a lot of features that match what she’s looking for. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be picked. … It makes sense he would be on the short list.”

Quentin Kidd, director of Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Public Policy, said he agrees. He said Kaine’s political views and early support for Clinton – as well as Virginia’s importance as a swing state in the national election – make him attractive.

Kaine, who was elected senator in 2012, said in May 2014 he wanted Clinton to be the next president. He campaigned for her in several primary and caucus states but demurred whenever asked if he would want to join the ticket.

“I love my job and I’m not looking for another one,” he told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” during an April 13 interview from Washington. “As you guys know, we’ve got a lot to do up here and a lot of challenges. And I’m pretty happy doing it. … I hope to be here awhile.”

His role model, he said, is former Sen. John Warner of Virginia, who was in Congress for 30 years.

This year’s speculation isn’t new for Kaine. Eight years ago, while Virginia’s governor, he was considered by then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to be his running mate before Obama selected Sen. Joe Biden. As with Clinton, Kaine had been an early supporter – endorsing Obama’s candidacy almost two years before the 2008 election.

Sabato said he expects that the Clinton campaign already is vetting possible vice presidential contenders, even though Clinton’s opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, continues to compete with her in the remaining state primaries.

“They need to focus on this,” Sabato said. “It would be irresponsible not to.”

But the decision is Clinton’s alone to make and there’s no rush, Sabato added.

He noted that the Democratic National Convention where the candidates are formally nominated isn’t until late July, after the Republican convention formally approves GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump and his running mate.

“Find out who Trump is going to pick,” Sabato said. The Democrats “have the advantage of the second convention. Why would you throw that away?”

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