Hillary Clinton announced her pick of Tim Kaine as running mate Friday evening.
Here’s everything you need to know about him.
St. Paul, Minnesota
Former mayor of Richmond, Virginia, and lieutenent governor and governor of Virginia; current junior senator from Virginia
Who he is not, to many progressives’ dismay
Elizabeth Warren. That simple fact alone will leave a lot of lefties cold. Some diehards were still hopeful that the fact Warren sat out the primary, failing to throw her support behind her ideological twin, Bernie Sanders, meant she had a better chance of being tapped for VP. One big reason Clinton can point for not picking Warren is the fact that she is a Democratic senator in a Republican-controlled state, an important fact since the governor has the power to fill a vacant Senate seat.
Where he stands on…
Abortion: Kaine, a Catholic who’s spent the duration of his political career in the conservative state of Virginia, has a mixed record on abortion. He’s personally opposed to it, and as governor he signed into law a measure allowing Virginians to purchase “Choose Life” license plates. But he has — especially since joining the Senate in 2012 — been a staunch supporter of reproductive rights legislation.
Fossil fuels: Kaine opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, and gets high marks from the League of Conservation Voters. But as Mother Jones has reported, he also supported offshore drilling and is generally in good graces with the fossil-fuels industry.
Banks: As the Huffington Post reported this week, Kaine “signed two letters on Monday urging federal regulators to go easy on banks ― one to help big banks dodge risk management rules, and another to help small banks avoid consumer protection standards.”
So why did Clinton pick this guy?
With her selection of Kaine as running mate, Clinton is going all in on Virginia. In the hierarchy of swing states, Florida and Ohio get all the attention. But since 2008, when Barack Obama first turned the state blue, Virginia has emerged as the most important swing state in the land. And it’s not hard to understand why.
Racking up Virginia’s 13 electoral college votes would ensure Democratic victory — even in the face of seemingly catastrophic losses.
Take this scenario: Winning Virginia means that Clinton could lose Florida, Ohio, Iowa and Colorado, and still emerge with the 270 electoral college votes needed to become president. You can see that map here.
In 2016, Trump is making a play for record white turnout — attempting to put a state like Pennsylvania in play, piggy-backing off a presumptive win in neighboring Ohio. In this scenario, Virginia emerges again as a crucial firewall for Clinton. Trump’s white turnout strategy could conceivably earn him victories in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and New Hampshire. But if Clinton holds Virginia and ekes out victories in more diverse swing states like Florida and Nevada, she wins running away with 275 electoral votes. You can see that map here.
Holding Virginia also opens up more outre maps. Arizona, with its high population of Hispanic voters and a sizable population of Mormons (who as a voting bloc appear to harbor special enmity toward Trump) is arguably in play this election cycle. If Clinton were to cobble together victories in Virginia and Arizona, she could then cede Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Iowa to Trump and still hit the magic 270. That map is here.
Tim Kaine may not be a household name in most of America. But he’s won election to three statewide offices in Virginia. If her veep candidate can carry Virginia, Clinton could be on a rocket path to the White House.