Thursday, July 28, 2016

If Kaine Wins, Who Could Fill His Senate Seat?

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 9:35 AM

With Sen. Tim Kaine accepting Hillary Clinton’s offer to run with her as vice president last night, who will take his place in the U.S. Senate should he win -- and when?

The answer is a bit convoluted.

If Kaine wins in November, Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a fellow Democrat, would have to appoint a replacement for about a year. Then there would be a special election in 2017 followed by a regular election in 2018 for a six-year-term.

That is, of course, if the person McAuliffe appoints wants to keep the Senate job rather than just warm a seat temporarily.

If the former, names that come up are U.S. Reps. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, Don Beyer and Gerald E. Connolly. Other Democratic possibilities include Attorney General Mark Herring and Brian Moran, McAuliffe’s public safety and homeland security secretary.

Potential placeholders could be former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder and former Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim, according to The Washington Post.

Scott might seem to have a leg up in the bunch. He’s a 12-term congressman and is an African-American who has the backing of key members of the Black Caucus. One drawback is that Scott is a ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, an important entity in shaping laws about teaching and labor.

“The two strongest choices are Bobby Scott and Beyer,” says Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington. Both are from safe districts not likely to fall into Republican hands.

“The edge might go to Beyer,” he adds. Beyer was lieutenant governor for eight years and also served as a U.S. ambassador. That experience might make him more appealing to a broader, statewide electorate. Another reason is that Beyer has lots of experience raising campaign money and “that fundraising skill will be key,” Farnsworth says.

If not Scott, another possibility could be State Sen. A. Donald McEachin, a veteran legislator who's running for Congress from the 4th District, which was recently redrawn after a court fight over charges that Scott’s 3rd District had been gerrymandered by white politicians to back in blacks and thus dilute their voting strength in neighboring districts.

If there's a special election in 2015 for the U.S. Senate, GOP possibilities include former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli or U.S. Reps. Rob Wittman and Barbara Comstock.

Even U.S. Rep. Dave Brat, who got headlines by defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a stunning 2014 primary, might be in the mix.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Tim Kaine Tapped by Hillary Clinton as VP

Democrat has long background in city, state, federal politics.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 9:00 PM

Hillary Clinton has chosen Sen. Tim Kaine, a longtime Richmond politician with progressive roots, as her running mate in November's presidential election.

Kaine -- a former Richmond councilman, mayor, lieutenant governor and governor and now U.S. senator -- was a leading candidate for the slot after Donald Trump’s firestorm GOP convention in Cleveland. But the announcement of his vice presidential choice late Friday night apparently was put off by news of a mass shooting in Munich, Germany.

Kaine has a reputation of being a solid executive with a mild manner and a sharp mind.

National news outlets such as Politico had diminished him as “Vanilla Nice” for his easygoing, bipartisan nature. But analysts say he may be what's needed in today’s harshly polarizing climate.

Minnesota-born Kaine grew up in the Midwest and came to espouse regional values of populism and fair play. He is also a devout, Jesuit-trained Roman Catholic, whose views on abortion and the death penalty might contrast those of his running mate. But in office Kaine stuck with Virginia law on both issues, drawing criticism from pro-life groups and progressives opposing the death penalty.

The choice of Kaine may balance Clinton’s ticket, but it also may estrange more liberal Democrats who backed Bernie Sanders. It also may draw in centrists who want more traditional economics measures and a strong military.

According to surveys, Virginia is either the No. 1 or No. 2 defense state. Kaine’s Senate position on the armed services and foreign affairs committees has given him important shoring in these areas. His Catholic missionary work in Honduras taught him fluent Spanish, which may help win Hispanic voters estranged by Trump’s anti-immigration views.

The next important step will be to see Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe's choice as Kaine's replacement in the Senate, should he win.

For more: 13 Things About Tim Kaine.

Friday, July 1, 2016

National Media Rev Up Stories on Sen. Tim Kaine's Gift History

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 8:20 AM

  • Scott Elmquist

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine has been widely reported as being atop the list of Hillary Clinton’s potential running mates, but he faces a swirl of negative stories in national media about gifts he took when he was governor and lieutenant governor.

The recent round of stories seem to originate with a piece by Politico on June 30, which notes that as a top Virginia official Kaine accepted $160,000 in vacations, travel and clothing, among other gifts.

None of the gifts is apparently illegal under the state’s permissive ethics laws and they seem to have been reported properly. Some of the gifts were reported locally for years.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Clinton is ramping up for the Democratic convention later this month in Philadelphia, Kaine’s name is coming up for vice president and earlier this week the U.S. Supreme Court vacated all 11 federal corruption convictions against Republican former Gov. Bob McDonnell.

McDonnell had accepted more than $175,000 in loans, cash, a Rolex watch, travel and other gifts from vitamin supplement maker Jonnie R. Williams Sr., who wanted McDonnell to connect him with state university researchers to study one of his products.

Contrasts between the two former governors are inevitable, given that Kaine is undergoing routine scrutiny in the chance that he might be in a position that could make him president. The Kaine gifts story is being reported by ABC, CBS and CNBC, among various other news outlets.

Kaine declined an interview with Style, but his office has issued the statement: “During his eight years as lieutenant governor and governor, Sen. Kaine went beyond the requirements of Virginia law, even publicly disclosing gifts of value beneath the reporting threshold. He’s confident that he met both the letter and the spirit of Virginia’s ethical standards.”

Among other gifts, Kaine reported a weeklong vacation in 2005 that he and his family took after he was elected governor. They visited the West Indies island of Mustique, staying in a house owned by Charlottesville investor James B. Murray Jr.

The vacation was valued at $18,000. Murray was once rector at the College of William & Mayor and has served on a state higher education council.

In 2003 and 2005, Kaine accepted $5,500 worth of clothes from Stuart C. Siegel, a clothier and Kaine supporter, according to Politico and Virginia Public Access Project reports.

Among other gifts were travel worth $2,000 from utility Dominion for trips to governors meetings and to an NCAA Final Four basketball game. Others who gave gifts were Teva Pharmaceuticals, BET co-founder Sheila C. Johnson and ADR software chief executive E. Scott Kasprowicz.

Some of these gifts already have been widely reported. Kaine’s West Indies island vacation has long been criticized in various election campaigns.

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