Donning a plaid shirt and sitting on the same Richmond porch steps where he announced his first bid for city council, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine announced in a video that he is indeed running for Senate in Virginia.
The announcement came one day after President Barack Obama, who appointed the former Virginia governor to lead the DNC in 2009, announced his re-election campaign for president. Kaine is scheduled to hold a media availability Wednesday morning in Richmond to discuss the race.
“I’m running for the United States Senate because America has big challenges, and I’m convinced Virginia has answers to help strengthen our nation,” Kaine said.
His entrance sets up a likely marquee showdown with former Sen. George Allen, who must first win a GOP primary. Kaine is not expected to face any major opposition for the Democratic nod.
In the video, which he also released in Spanish, Kaine sought to separate himself from the politics of the nation’s capital, noting, “Washington can learn a few things from Virginia.” He touted his experience at the city level and the gains Virginia made during his and Sen. Mark Warner’s (D-Va.) successive tenures as governor.
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.) released a statement calling it "a great day for the people of Virginia."
"The Republicans have a real tea party primary on their hands, and George Allen has a long record of spending and debt that will be a major issue in this race," she said.
But the National Republican Senatorial Committee has been working for weeks to tie Kaine to Obama and Congressional Democrats, who suffered significant losses in the 2010 cycle.
“Now that his fellow party leaders in Washington have twisted Tim Kaine’s arm enough to get him into this race, Republicans welcome the clear contrast that his candidacy presents and the choice before Virginians next year,” NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh said, citing GOP gains in Virginia in both 2010 and the 2009 state elections.