Buzz grows that Tim Kaine will be Clinton's VP pick
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Virginia Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineBiden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much Students with disabilities could lose with COVID-19 stimulus package Coronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner MORE has emerged as the clear favorite a day before Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFormer Obama adviser Plouffe predicts 'historical level' of turnout by Trump supporters Poll: More Republican voters think party is more united than Democratic voters Whoopi Goldberg presses Sanders: 'Why are you still in the race?' MORE is expected to announce her running mate. 

Clinton confidants and allies believe Kaine is the leading contender. And some top allies have recommended that Clinton pick the Virginia Democrat. 

“I would bet all my chips on Kaine,” one confidant of Clinton said on Thursday. 

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Kaine has long been seen as a favorite to be Clinton’s running mate, though a number of other names have made the cut. 

Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackThomas James VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE is another top contender, and Ohio Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownLawmakers press IRS to get coronavirus checks to seniors Democrats press Mnuchin to defend T coronavirus stimulus IG Senator Tom Coburn's government oversight legacy MORE, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Labor Secretary Tom Perez have all been seen as finalists. 

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenMaryland Legislative Black Caucus pushes for state to release racial breakdown of coronavirus impact Hillicon Valley: T-Mobile, Sprint complete merger | Warren pushes food delivery apps to classify workers as full employees | Lawsuit accuses Zoom of improperly sharing user data Warren calls on food delivery apps to classify workers as full employees MORE (D-Mass.) has also met with Clinton and been in the mix, but it appears the always cautious Clinton is even more likely to pick a more centrist candidate given Republican Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has total of 20 patients: report Fauci says that all states should have stay-at-home orders MORE’s decision to make Indiana Gov. Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Kushner makes first appearance at coronavirus briefing Meadows sets up coronavirus hotline for members of Congress MORE his vice presidential candidate. 

One longtime Clinton friend said the Pence pick frees Clinton up “to go with someone who can be president immediately and with whom she has a strong relationship with no requirements to satisfy new demographic or diversity consideration.”

Clinton said earlier this week in an interview with Charlie Rose that she was “afflicted with the responsibility gene” and wanted someone who would be experienced above all. 

The New York Times also reported on Wednesday that Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonClintons send pizza to NY hospital staff treating coronavirus Budowsky: President Trump, meet with all former living presidents Why Klobuchar should be Biden's vice presidential pick MORE has signaled that he would like to see Kaine, the 58-year-old governor turned senator, on the ticket. 

And on Wednesday at the White House briefing, press secretary Josh Earnest, volunteered Kaine as a candidate whom President Obama would recommend. 

The selection process hasn’t been easy for Clinton. Those around her say she’s been intrigued by the excitement she’s been seeing from crowds as she appeared with Obama and Warren, and has considered selecting someone to generate that same buzz. 

Booker, whom The Washington Post said was still in the running on Thursday, headed to Cleveland in what some were labeling as a final tryout to criticize the tone of the Republican National Convention. 

Several Clinton aides cautioned that the VP information is being tightly held among a tight circle of aides — including top policy adviser Jake Sullivan, campaign manager Robby Mook and campaign chairman John Podesta, as well as longtime adviser Cheryl Mills — and that few details, such as the location and timing of the announcement, are known. 

With Clinton not appearing publicly for the last couple of days to decide on her running mate and taking part in other convention preparation, Kaine kept to business as usual. On Thursday, he held a roundtable discussion with local advocacy groups on immigration reform and then was expected to hold another discussion with leaders of the Northern Virginia interfaith and civil rights communities later in the day. 

A day earlier, he appeared at a commerce event in Virginia along with Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHackers target health care AI amid coronavirus pandemic Hillicon Valley: Coronavirus deal includes funds for mail-in voting | Twitter pulled into fight over virus disinformation | State AGs target price gouging | Apple to donate 10M masks Senator sounds alarm on cyber threats to internet connectivity during coronavirus crisis MORE (D).