While Sen. Tim Kaine was widely seen as the safest choice for presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s ticket, the Virginia Democrat’s selection isn’t without potential complications.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime ally of the Clintons, would assuredly appoint a Democrat to fill Kaine’s seat if the first-term senator were to become vice president, but the resignation would prompt an unusual off-year Senate campaign in the commonwealth. The special election would align with the 2017 governor’s race.
McAuliffe would be leaving the governor’s mansion then, due to Virginia’s law that only allows a governor to serve a single consecutive term (part of the reason why Kaine ended in the Senate in the first place). So McAuliffe could always run himself.
Some potential Democratic candidates for the seat — either by temporary appointment or election) include Northern Virginia Reps. Gerald E. Connolly and Don Beyer, both of whom represent areas just outside Washington that are vital for Democrats in Virginia elections.
The most logical choice might be Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who took a pass on throwing his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2017. Hampton Roads Rep. Robert C. Scott would bring more racial diversity to the Senate.
And a sentimental favorite, at least for a temporary appointment, would be Kaine’s own wife , Ann Holton. A Harvard Law School graduate, Holton is now Virginia’s secretary of education. She’s also the daughter of a former Republican Virginia governor.