Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said on Friday that he will run for reelection in 2024, delivering some much-needed relief to Democrats seeking to defend their majority next year.
“I am happy to announce that I will seek reelection in 2024 to keep delivering results for Virginia,” Kaine told reporters after attending an economic roundtable in Richmond, Va.
Kaine, who is running for his third term and will turn 65 next month, has seen a number of statewide victories in the Old Dominion throughout his career. He has served in the Senate since 2013 and was Virginia’s governor from 2006 to 2010. He was also lieutenant governor from 2002 to 2006.
He also has a history at the national level, working as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011. In 2016, he ran for vice president alongside Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Kaine’s decision not only likely prevents a crowded Democratic primary field, but also ensures the party will have the upper hand in the race, as Kaine is seen as a formidable incumbent. That’s a key factor for Democrats in Virginia, which in recent years has swung to the right in statewide elections. In 2021, Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in the state’s gubernatorial contest, giving a major off-year election win to Republicans.
On the other hand, Democrats performed unexpectedly well in the 2022 midterms, with two out of the three targeted Democratic congressional incumbents winning reelection in their districts.
Regardless, Senate Republicans say they are still looking at the seat as a potential pickup.
“Virginians have shown they’re willing to vote Republican with the right candidate and the right political environment,” said NRSC spokeswoman Maggie Abboud. “We’re going to keep a close eye on Virginia and focus on recruiting a strong candidate who can raise the resources necessary to compete.”
A source close to former Republican congressional candidate Hung Cao told The Hill that Cao has been asked to run for the seat and is considering it.
Cao unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) in Virginia’s 10th congressional district last year.