Tim Kaine announces Virginia Senate run, Republicans hint at strategy

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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Former Virginia Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine announced Tuesday that he will seek the Senate seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Jim Webb. Kaine was seen by Democrats as the party’s best hope to retain the seat.

Kaine announced the decision in an online video that featured resume clips of his life in public service.

“While we still have an awful lot of work to do to help Virginians who are struggling in tough times, I know that Washington can learn a few things from Virginia,” Kaine said. “When we attack common obstacles — instead of each other — we solve problems and get things done.”

A statement released by the Republican National Senatorial Committee (RNSC) hinted at four major issues that will be made by opponents in the general election.

Republicans are likely to target stimulus spending, Kaine’s closeness to President Obama, his nuanced stance on the closure of the Hampton Roads-based Joint Forces Command (citing the national deficit), and support for an increase in the state’s income tax during his last days as governor.

NRSC communications director Brian Walsh wrote in a statement that Virginians had rejected the Democratic agenda and that, “there is no reason to believe they will not reject it again by sending a fiscally responsible, pro-jobs Republican to the U.S. Senate.”

Kaine will likely face former Virginia Republican Sen. George Allen, who lost the seat in 2006 to Webb following an embarrassing campaign gaffe when he referred to an Asian citizen conducting opposition research as “macaca.”

Tea Party activist Jamie Radtke is also seeking the Republican nomination.

Republicans are certain to rail against Kaine’s “cheerleading” for Obama in his position as chair of the Democratic National Committee. In anticipation of Kaine’s candidacy, the NRSC produced “cheerleaderinchief.com.”