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Sen. Tim Kaine plans to run for reelection in 2024

Sen. Tim Kaine in a sports jacket and collared shirt, while speaking outside in Richmond.
John C. Clark
Associated Press
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., announces that he is seeking reelection, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/John C. Clark)

The longtime Virginia politician announced the news Friday.

Sen. Tim Kaine announced Friday he plans to run for reelection in 2024 at an event in Richmond.

Kaine said he weighed running for a third Senate term by choosing two Bible verses.

“Actually, what I did is I summarized in my head the best reasons to start a new chapter in life, and the best reasons to continue a chapter,” he said.

Last week, he ultimately came to a decision.

“The ‘continue the chapter’ verse was from Galatians," he said. "Do not grow weary in doing good, you will reap a great harvest if you do not give up.”

Kaine largely kept it a secret and only informed three staffers two days ago; the rest of his staff learned Thursday night.

He gave four reasons why he was running again: “I'm a servant. I love Virginia. I'm proud of what I've done. I got a whole lot more I wanna do.”

On the issues, Kaine specifically cited wanting to work more on workforce issues, immigration policy and racial disparities in health care.

“If we're not doing an immigration reform bill that's really focused on the workforce, then we're not going to have the workforce that we need to have an economy that's as productive as it can be for everybody,” he said.

In 2016, after losing a vice presidential bid with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Kaine told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he wanted to serve in the Senate for a long time, akin to Republican Sen. John Warner — who represented Virginia in D.C. for 30 years.

At the time, he said he’d run again “And long as my health, my wife’s sufferance and Virginia voters will allow me.” Kaine said something similar, but not the same, onFriday.

“In 2024, it will be 30 years," he said. "It will be 30 years since I ran my City Council race in 1994.”

The senator also discussed his experience with long COVID on Friday.

“It's mild, it's not getting in my way,” he said. “But it is noticeable enough that I know there are people who are really struggling with this.”

Kaine was first elected to the Senate in 2013 and won reelection in 2018 against Republican Corey Stewart, a Prince William County supervisor, 57% to 41%.

His wife Anne Holton, a former secretary of education and daughter of former Gov. Linwood Holton, was by Kaine’s side as he made the announcement.

Professionally, Kaine first came to Richmond to practice law in the 1980s. He served Richmond City Council as the 2nd District representative in the ‘90s and was mayor of Richmond from 1998 to 2001. From there, Kaine joined state office as lieutenant governor from 2002-2006 and governor of Virginia from 2006-10.

Whether the U.S. Senate seat changes parties is up for speculation: Virginia consistently elected Democrats to state office over the past 10 years, until Republicans led by Gov.Glenn Youngkin swept all statewide offices in 2021.

Kaine is assuming it will be a tough race in 2024.

“I think we're battleground — maybe a little bit on the blue side, but we're battleground,” Kaine said. “Look, the success of Governor Youngkin and the statewide ticket in ‘21 shows you that, ‘Hey, Virginias will vote for Republicans in a statewide election.’ So, nobody can take that for granted.”

Jahd Khalil covers Virginia state politics for VPM News.