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Sen. Tim Kaine says he’ll run for a third term

Virginia’s Sen. Tim Kaine announced Friday that he’ll run for a third term, after mulling what it would mean to serve another six-year term on top of a political career that will have spanned 30 years by 2024. 

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

Nonetheless, Kaine is younger than many of his Senate colleagues — and 16 years younger than President Biden, who is likely to announce his own reelection bid soon after the State of the Union address next month and at 80, is the oldest man in history to hold the office.

Virginia's 4th Congressional District
File: Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks during a canvassing event for State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Va., in the North Side of Richmond, Va., on Dec. 17, 2022. 

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

Kaine told reporters in Richmond Friday that there’s a “whole lot more” he wants to accomplish before leaving the upper chamber. Kaine was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate in 2016. 

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

He said he officially made up his mind last week around Wednesday or Thursday. 

Whether Kaine would run again was a matter of concern for Democrats, who worry a non-incumbent Democrat might lose to a Republican in the commonwealth, which recently elected a Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin. Virginia’s other U.S. senator, Mark Warner, is also a Democrat. 

Kaine said he informed three staffers two days ago and told the rest of his staff Thursday night. The former missionary said he used his wife’s counsel and a pair of Bible verses to guide his deliberations. 

The Virginia Democrat said President Biden did not know about his decision. And Kaine said he has “zero intel” about Mr. Biden’s plans to run again for president in 2024, but believes he will and has a “good chance” of winning Virginia. 

Kaine said he doesn’t know if Youngkin will run against him for Senate. Virginia governors by law cannot serve two consecutive terms. Kaine said there is something “interesting” about the one-term governorship and people typically “don’t leave early for other opportunities.” 

Comprehensive immigration reform has been a key priority for Kaine, something that remains elusive. Kaine has publicly shared his personal battle with long COVID, and pushed for further research on the subject. 

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