Run, Timmy, Run!
At the Jefferson - Jackson annual convocation of state democratic party membership in Richmond on Februrary 19, the call for a new Senate nominee was definitive. The 1,400 assembled faithful wanted DNC Chairman Tim Kaine to make a claim. To state his position. To accept a de facto nomination.
The only issue is that Governor Kaine likes his day job as DNC chair and believes his present work can best help the country in 2012.
Virtually every member of the Virginia US Congressional Delegation encouraged Chairman/Governor Kaine to run and to lock-in the party nomination for a competitive race. Even Sen. Mark Warner, who was piped-in by a very clear meeting video bridge (better than skype), said he felt: "Tim Kaine should now join me in the Senate and would make an excellent colleague."
Sen. Warner should know of the possibility having made the jump from Virginia governor to US Senator. We interviewed former DNC Chairman and President Clinton administration confidante Terence McAuliffe -- who also knows a little bit about the virtues of running for state office after holding a national democratic party position (see You Tube video below).
I worked as a volunteer for Terry's campaign for governor because I thought he was the best candidate to put up against now Governor Bob McDonnell. Opponents called him a "carpetbagger" though the McAuliffe family have lived in McLean, coached local soccer teams, and put their children through Fairfax County Schools. McAuliffe offered a 32-point business plan to help create jobs. He is a businessman with acumen for economic development. My regional campaign manager was a tough woman from New Jersey named Leah Masci. We worked hard but did not hold our Sully District.
So here is my "on the scene" Twitter reporting from the JJ as the crowd called for Kaine to declare:
VA Dems screaming "run Tim, run" but he demurs. No pool cameras. Promises he will decide "soon" on Webb seat but when? Kaine says nominating him by acclimation is "flattering" but "I have a job I love, through 2012". He is reflecting on when?
DNC Chairman Kaine says Sen. Jim Webb wearing his son's Army boots was an unforgettable image during the last campaign. Thanks him for his own service to the country and for his son's enlistment.
The DNC Chairman also promised Virginians: "we'll be blue in 2012." He said, "I do politics to lighten peoples' burdens." Democrats and Virginians do it well. Kaine conceded that the state loss in VA was painful under his DNC reign.
"I came to deliver my message as party chair," he said. "But I will weigh-in soon on another note," he teased as the crowd continued to call for a declaration. For now, the chairman of the national party is thinking about a return to politics.
See my interview with former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe at the state democratic party JJ dinner http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xqx7kGI1JH4 McAuliffe repeated the rejoinder. "We can keep the Senate seat now with Tim Kaine!"
Mike Smith is a Washington-insider who has his own public affairs and political advocacy firm, Mike Smith Public Affairs. Check out his website for more photos from the Democratic functions.
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