With the selection of Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate on Friday, Hillary Clinton has added another historic dimension to her already historic campaign. After nearly a quarter century of teasing, a Virginian has finally been picked to be on the presidential ticket for a major American political party.
It goes back to the early 80s. Chuck Robb, the Democratic Governor from 1982-1986, was thought to be a possible vice presidential, or even presidential, candidate. It never materialized.
It was in the 1990s, though that speculation about Virginia governors really heated up. First there was George Allen, Republican governor of Virginia from 1994 to 1998. He was on the short list to be Bob Dole’s running mate in 1996. The spot went to Jack Kemp instead. Allen was later thought to be among the early favorites for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, before he got caught in “Macacagate,” lost his Senate reelection to Jim Webb, and saw his national hopes dashed.
The came former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore. Now, Gilmore may have never been a real vice presidential possibility, but he has run for the Republican presidential nomination twice, in 2008 and 2016. Both times he has been little more than a joke.
In 2002, Mark Warner became Virginia’s governor. A young, business friendly Democrat, he seemed tailor made for national Democratic politics. He was one of the favorites for John Kerry’s VP slot in 2004, but the job went to John Edwards. He was then thought to be a potential contender for the presidential nod in 2008, but chose to instead run for a Senate seat, a spot he still holds.
Kaine succeeded Warner, and was on the potential VP list for Barack Obama in 2008. He also ended up running for governor, winning his first term in 2012. The governor’s mansion then went back to the Republicans when Bob McDonnell moved in in 2010. He was on the shortlist to be Mitt Romney’s running mate. He too was passed over, and since then he and his wife have been convicted of fraud — though his sentence was eventually vacated.
Now, though, all that is over. Tim Kaine is the nominee. Virginia, the mother of presidents — it’s had eight, more than any other state — is on the national ballot for the first time since Woodrow Wilson.
Yes, Kaine was born in Minnesota and grew up near Kansas City. But if New York gets to claim Clinton — who was born in Illinois and was once First Lady of Arkansas — Virginia can claim Kaine.
Tim Kaine may not be the most exciting pick for the Clinton campaign. But after 25 years, Virginians can finally say it: he’s our boring VP candidate.
July 22, 2016 (9 pm ET): This article was updated from the original to reflect the official announcement by Hillary Clinton about her nominee for vice president.