U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) questions Zalmay Khalilzad, special envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation, during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 27, 2021.
Susan Walsh | Pool | Reuters
Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia announced Friday that he will seek a third term in office, snuffing out speculation that the former vice presidential nominee could be retiring and opening up his prized Senate seat in a tough election cycle.
“I’m a servant, I love Virginia, I’m proud of what I’ve done, I’ve got a whole lot more to do,” Kaine, 64, said at a press event in the state’s capital of Richmond.
He made the announcement after hosting a roundtable event with city leaders.
Kaine has steadily climbed the political ladder in Virginia over nearly three decades, serving on Richmond’s city council before ascending to mayor, then lieutenant governor, governor and finally senator.
He stepped into the national spotlight in 2016 when then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton tapped him as her running mate. After the Clinton-Kaine ticket lost to former President Donald Trump and his vice presidential pick, Mike Pence, Kaine returned to Virginia, winning a second Senate term in 2018.
“I am happy to announce that I will seek re-election in 2024 to keep delivering results for Virginia. I’ve been honored to serve people as a missionary, civil rights lawyer, and elected official at the local, state and federal levels. I love the Commonwealth and its citizens and want to keep being your Senator,” Kaine said in a press release.
The announcement comes as Democrats could face a tough Senate map in 2024, even after they broadly outperformed expectations in last year’s midterm elections. It also comes amid some uncertainty about whether President Joe Biden, who at 80 is the oldest president in U.S. history, will run for reelection in 2024.
“Tim Kaine has proven to be an exemplary Senator that continues to deliver for Virginia and our country time and time again,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement to NBC News.
“Tim has fought tirelessly for his home state and for working families and I’m confident his best years are yet to come,” Schumer said.