Will Kaine End the Virginia Drought?
If Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) selects Timothy M. Kaine (D) as his running mate, the Virginia governor would be the first politician from the state on a major-party national ticket in many years.
First, let's dispense with a caveat: Yes, Woodrow Wilson was born in Virginia. But his political career was launched in New Jersey before he was elected president as a Democrat in 1912 and reelected in 1916.
The last time a politician based in Virginia was nominated by a major party for its national ticket was in 1840. That year, the Whigs nominated former Virginia governor and senator John Tyler to be William Henry Harrison's running mate.
Even with Tyler as a vice presidential nominee, Harrison couldn't carry Virginia. The state voted instead to reelect President Martin Van Buren. But the Harrison-Tyler team nevertheless won an Electoral College landslide.
Harrison died one month after taking the oath of office, making Tyler the first vice president to become president because of the death of an incumbent.
In an interview this morning on WTOP radio, Kaine sought to play down speculation he could be the first Virginia-based politician in more than a century to join a major party ticket.
"I am extremely gratified with how well (Obama) has done and especially how well he may be able to do in Virginia, and that is my focus," said Kaine. "That is how I can think I can be most helpful."
Washington Post editors
July 29, 2008; 11:08 AM ET
Categories: Tim Craig
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