Virginia Senator Tim Kaine says he will run for a third term

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine announced Friday that he will be running for a third term after pondering what it would mean to serve another six-year term on top of a political career that will span 30 years by 2024.

“When I ran for the Senate in 2012 — that was at least an eight-year decision,” he said, the sum of two years of campaigning and a six-year term. “Fighting with an eight-year decision at 64 is different than it is at 53 or 42.”

Even so, Kaine is younger than many of his Senate peers — and 16 years younger than President Bidenwho is likely announces his own re-election bid Shortly after next month’s State of the Union address and at age 80, he is the oldest man in history to hold the office.

Virginia's 4th congressional district
FILE: Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks during a promotional event for State Senator Jennifer McClellan, D-Va., on the North Side of Richmond, Virginia on December 17, 2022.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images

Kaine told reporters in Richmond on Friday that he wants to accomplish more before leaving the upper chamber. Kaine was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 vice presidential nominee.

“I am a servant. i love virginia I’m proud of what I’ve done. And I want to do a lot more,” Kaine said, adding that he hopes Congress can pass “meaningful” legislation on issues like immigration reform, mental health, housing and the economy.

He said he officially decided against Wednesday or Thursday last week.

Whether Kaine would run again was a matter of concern for Democrats, who fear an out-of-office Democrat could lose to a Commonwealth Republican who recently elected a Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin. Virginia’s other US Senator, Mark Warner, is also a Democrat.

Kaine said he notified three employees two days ago and notified the rest of his employees Thursday night. The former missionary said he used his wife’s counsel and a few Bible verses to guide his reasoning.

The Virginia Democrat said President Biden was unaware of his decision. And Kaine said he has “zero information” about Mr. Biden’s plans to run for president again in 2024, but believes he will and has “a good chance” of winning Virginia.

Kaine said he didn’t know if Youngkin was running against him for the Senate. Virginia governors cannot by law serve two consecutive terms. Kaine, who served as governor from 2006 to 2010, said there was something “interesting” about the governorship for a term in the Commonwealth.

“Well, if you’re running for president, that would be one thing, but people don’t leave early to take advantage of other opportunities,” Kaine said. “You spend your four years, you know, pedaling and then moving on, so could he be? I suppose anyone could run against me because it’s an honor to represent Virginia in the Senate.”

Comprehensive immigration reform was a key priority for Kaine, something that remains elusive. Kaine has publicly shared his personal struggle with Long COVID and has pushed for more research on the subject.