Hillary Clinton has chosen the man who will stand beside her as Vice President should she win the US election, announcing her running mate as Virginian Senator Tim Kaine.
Clinton, who broke the news to her supporters via text message, described Senator Kaine as “a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others”.
The former governor of Virginia is being widely described a safe choice by the Democratic candidate, who admitted to favouring experience over innovation in her decision-making process.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 23, 2016
Kaine’s views err on the moderate side, a fact Republicans have already seized on as evidence Clinton is betraying her more liberal supporters.
“After spending last week pandering to grass-roots Democrats with Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton has chosen someone who holds positions that she’s spent the entire primary trying to get to the left of,” Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, said.
Kaine, 58, has endorsed Clinton since 2014 and is expected to help her win over Virginia, which is a key swing state.
Here’s what you need to know about the man who could replace Joe Biden.
- He’s from a working class background. Kaine was born in Overland Park, Kansas, and was raised a Roman Catholic by his mother and his father, a welder who owned a small welding shop.
- He’s fluent in Spanish. In 2013, Kaine delivered the first entirely Spanish speech on the floor of the Senate. He spoke for 13 minutes about immigration, saying: “I think it is appropriate that I spend a few minutes explaining the bill in Spanish, a language that has been spoken in this country since Spanish missionaries founded St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565.”
- He worked as a civil rights lawyer for 17 years. Kaine represented death row inmates pro bono and worked to secure fair housing for people who had been discriminated against on the basis of disability or race.
He’s Harvard educated. Kaine took a year off from his studies in 1980 to join Jesuit missionaries running a school in Honduras. He graduated in 1983 with a law degree.
- This isn’t his first time at the rodeo. Kaine was elected to Senate in 2012 and served on the Armed Services Committee, the Budget Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee. Even before that he was shortlisted as a possible running mate for Barack Obama in the 2008 election.
- He’s boring and he’s not ashamed to admit it. “I’m boring,” Kaine said in an interview with NBC. “But boring is the fastest growing demographic in the country.” Asked about his apparent “dullness”, Clinton responded: “I love that about him,” adding, “I do have a fondness for wonks”.
- He is deeply religious. Kaine is a practising Roman Catholic and personally opposes abortion and the death penalty. As governor, Kaine was forced to allow 11 executions despite his faith, something he admitted he “struggled with”.
He’s musical. Kaine can play the harmonica and sings in the gospel choir at his church, St. Elizabeth, a majority black Roman Catholic church.
- He’s a supporter of free trade and gun control. Kaine was governor at the time of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, which claimed 32 lives. He responded by working to strengthen the state’s background check system. His stance on gun control is in line with Clinton’s own strong views on the issue.
- He’s a father. Kaine has three children with his wife Anne – Nat, Woody and Annella. Nat, the eldest, is a marine.