Former Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine has emphatically quashed any possibility of a 2020 presidential run. The Virginia senator said on Thursday (17 November) that he plans to run for Senate re-election instead.
Kaine was asked by the Richmond Times Dispatch if he would run for president or vice president in the next election cycle following his ticket's surprising defeat earlier this month. "Nope. Nope," Kaine said. Instead, he revealed he wants to focus on his career in the Senate and said that he will seek re-election in 2018.
"I want to run and I want to serve in the Senate for a long time," Kaine stated, adding he hopes to model himself after long-serving Virginia senator John Warner, a Republican.
"I was really honoured to be asked by Hillary [Clinton], and it was a history-making race to be the first woman nominated. And for her to do well in Virginia and win the popular vote, that is all to her credit. And I was really proud to be a part of it," he said. "But I think the Catholic in me likes to go to the place where there is the most work to be done."
The Times Dispatch noted that Kaine's re-election campaign is already underway. "There is a lot of work to do to make Congress the branch that it was meant to be," he said, adding, "In terms of where there is the most need for good to be done, I think it's here."
Kaine said he has built good relations with Republican members of Congress, both in the Senate and in the House. "I kind of have a sense of vocation ... of the work that needs to be done to improve this branch," Kaine said. "And I think that's my highest and best use."
Despite losing the election to Republican Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, Kaine said he was dusting himself off and getting back to work. The senator was back in Washington DC on Tuesday (15 November) to cast his first vote in the Senate since the election.
CNN report that Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck said Kaine's decision was "a wise one".
"After the voters in Virginia go to the polls in 2018 to weigh in on his dramatic abandonment of virtually everything he's ever stood for to be Hillary's running mate, it would be very difficult for then former-Senator Kaine to get any traction at all," he said in a statement.
Republicans lost a representative from Virginia in the 2016 elections. Randy Forbes from Virginia's fourth congressional district will be replaced by Democrat A Donald McEachin.