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Kaine Vows to Stay out of Primary Fight

Tim Craig

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) has never been one to shy away from getting entangled in a contested Democratic nomination fight.

When he was lieutenant governor in 2004, Kaine waded into the battle for the Democratic nomination for president by endorsing Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (I), a move widely viewed as an effort by Kaine to boost his credentials with moderates as he prepared to run for governor. Three years later, Kaine endorsed President-Elect Barack Obama in February of 2007 when few analysts would have predicted that Obama would end up defeating Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY.) for the nomination. This year, Kaine surprised many when he endorsed Gerald E. Connolly (D) in his race against Leslie Byrne for the Democratic nomination for Congress.

But speaking on WTOP-Radio this morning, Kaine said he has no plans to endorse one of the three contenders for the Democratic nomination for governor.

"I am going to be neutral in this race," Kaine said. But Kaine added he is pleased that so many candidates are interesting in seeking the nomination, saying it's a sign of a healthy Democratic party.

"We have three candidates running for the Democratic nomination for governor and that is a sign of success," Kaine said. "In the future, we will probably see more competition within the party for these seats and that is a good sign, a sign of health."

Despite his vow to stay out of the governor's race, Kaine could get involved in other statewide primary fights next year. Kaine's former budget secretary, Jody Wagner, is engaged in a contested battle for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.

Kaine's decision on whether to back Wagner could become more complicated if C. Richard Cranwell, the chairman of the Democratic primary, also enters the race. But it is looking increasingly unlikely that Cranwell will seek the job.

By Tim Craig  |  November 25, 2008; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Next: Where in the World is Cranwell?

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