Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Manchin, Sinema join GOP to sink filibuster change for voting bill Desperate Dems signal support for cutting Biden bill down in size MORE (D-Va.) says he won’t mount a run for president or vice president in 2020.
Kaine told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that his “highest and best use” is serving in the Senate and wants to serve there for a “long time.”
“I have been through the VP stakes twice, and came close once and got on the ticket, and won Virginia and won the popular vote and lost — so I came close the second time,” Kaine said in his first sit-down interview since the presidential election.
“I was really honored 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 part of it. But I think the Catholic in me likes to go to the place where there is the most work to be done,” he added
The Virginia Democrat, who is up for reelection in 2018, ran for vice president on the Democratic ticket with Clinton, who was defeated by Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJudge rules Alaska governor unlawfully fired lawyer who criticized Trump Giuliani led fake electors plot: CNN Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE last week.
As Democrats look to their bench for the next presidential election, early speculation had centered on Kaine as a possible contender, given the national name recognition he gained during his vice presidential run.
But Kaine, instead, is ramping up his reelection campaign for the Senate, where Democrats face a daunting map next cycle as they defend 25 seats. Many of those seats are in ruby red states and Rust Belt states that Trump carried this year.
“I’ve built felt very, very good relations, even in a short time, with Republican members in the Senate and some in the House side,” Kaine told the Times-Dispatch newspaper.
“I kind of have a sense of vocation ... of the work that needs to be done to improve this branch,” he continued. “And I think that’s my highest and best use.”
“Tim Kaine’s decision to announce that he will not run for the White House in 2020 is a wise one,” Virginia GOP Chairman John Whitbeck said in a statement.
“After voters of 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.
This report was updated at 12:28 a.m.