Clinton picks Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as VP running mate

CCTV News

Hillary Clinton,Tim Kaine Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks at a rally at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, VA. July 14, 2016 (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Hillary Clinton named Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate Friday, adding a centrist former governor of a crucial battleground state to the Democratic ticket.

In a text message to supporters, the presumptive Democratic nominee said, “I’m thrilled to tell you this first: I’ve chosen Sen. Tim Kaine as my running mate.”

On Twitter a few seconds later, Clinton described Kaine as “a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others.” She called him “a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it.”

Kaine, with his response, seemed eager to hit the campaign trail.

With the pick, Clinton moved into the political spotlight a day after newly crowned Republican nominee Donald Trump closed out his convention with a fiery address accusing his general election opponent of “terrible, terrible crimes.”

Kaine, 58, had long been a favorite for Clinton’s ticket. Fluent in Spanish and active in the Senate on foreign relations and military affairs, he built a reputation for working across the aisle as Virginia’s governor and as mayor of Richmond.

Current Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement on the selection of Kaine by Hillary Clinton:

“His experience, intellect and dedication to making life better for people from all walks of life will make him an enormous asset to Secretary Clinton throughout the remainder of this campaign and as a leader in her administration over the next four years. This is a proud day for every Virginian.”

In a recent interview with CBS News, Clinton noted that Kaine has never lost an election during his lengthy political career and praised him as a “world-class mayor, governor and senator.” A favorite of Barack Obama since his early 2008 endorsement, the president told Clinton’s campaign he believed Kaine would be a strong choice during the selection process, according to a Democratic familiar with the search who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Those views are not shared by some liberals in the Democratic Party, who dislike his support of free trade and Wall Street. They pushed Clinton to pick Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, intensifying their criticism of Kaine late this week as his selection appeared imminent.

Clinton’s campaign largely declined to comment on the search process, trying to keep the details — even the names of the finalists — under wraps to try to maximize the impact of their announcement. She made no mention of her impending pick during a somber meeting Friday with community leaders and family members affected by the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and a later campaign rally in Tampa.

She is expected to campaign with Kaine on Saturday morning at an event in Miami.

Story compiled with information from The Associated Press, Twitter, and Politico