GOP Raises Concerns about Kaine, VP Speculation
Given the state's budget shortfall and an expected painful round of spending cuts this fall, Virginia Republican leaders said today Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) should consider whether he will step down as governor if he is selected by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) this month to be his running mate in the presidential race.
Kaine's four-year term ends in January 2010. If Kaine were to leave office early, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, a Republican, would become governor.
GOP leaders made their remarks after Kaine told the House and Senate money committees "difficult" spending decisions will have to made this fall. If Obama were to choose Kaine, the governor would most likely be expected to be on the campaign trail between now and the Nov. 4 election.
"It is going to be problematic," said House Majority Whip M. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights). "I am not going to immediately jump up and ask him to step down, but the key is how do you run the state and campaign? Can he effectively make those (budget) decisions if he is out of the state for the next two months? That is the first question that should be asked of him: 'In light of our downturn, what are you going to do to be a hands-on governor?' If he can not effectively answer that question, than I think he does have to consider" resigning if he is selected by Obama.
House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem) said, "with the serious issues facing Virginia, it would be difficult" for Kaine "to do both" jobs.
"That will be a personal decision, he will have to make," said Del. Phillip A. Hamilton (R-Newport News), the vice-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. "I am sure he would make the right decision for the Commonwealth."
In a brief meeting with reporters this morning, Kaine refused to answer a question about whether he could effectively handle the budget situation at the same time if he is chosen as Obama's running mate. But Kaine said on Saturday he doubts that Obama will select him.
"It's been very flattering to be mentioned," Kaine said. "I don't have any illusions about it. . . . I don't think that's likely to happen."
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