February 5, 2023

The 64-year-old Virginia Democrat’s decision puts an end to lingering questions within his own party about whether he’d seek reelection. Kaine was coy in the lead-up to Friday’s announcement, only telling reporters that he was taking the necessary steps to prepare and raising money. He currently has $3.9 million in cash on hand.

And his move is an undeniable boost for Democrats. While it’s been more than a decade since a Republican held a Virginia Senate seat, Kaine’s decision prevents his party from a crowded open primary in a state with a Republican governor. Kaine won his 2018 reelection against Corey Stewart, a conservative Republican, by 16 points.

Ahead of his announcement, Kaine hosted a round table with young Richmond advocates and members of the business community to discuss the upcoming Congress, alongside his wife, former Virginia Education secretary Anne Holton. Among the topics discussed were changes to the immigration system, housing affordability, teacher shortages and student loans.

Kaine, first elected to the Senate in 2012, has a long history in Democratic politics. In addition to being the 2016 vice presidential nominee, he was mayor of Richmond, governor of Virginia and chair of the Democratic National Committee. He’s recently been open about a long Covid-19 diagnosis, which he’s described as non-debilitating.

The Virginia Democrat is well-liked on both sides of the aisle. He’s worked closely with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), with whom he introduced bipartisan legislation last year to protect abortion rights. A member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, he has also made limiting presidential war powers a key focus during his Senate tenure.

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