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Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 02/14/2011

Kaine to appear at Democrats' Jefferson-Jackson dinner

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

Tim Kaine, former Virginia governor and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will appear at the Virginia Democrats' annual black-tie Jefferson-Jackson dinner Saturday.

It's unclear whether that means Kaine is leaning toward running for U.S. Sen. Jim Webb's seat or not. Virginia Democrats have spent months trying to work with Kaine's schedulers to make him available to attend.

Kaine is the first choice for many Democrats for the U.S. Senate, but the former Virginia governor previously said he was not interested in running. Some think he will change his mind if President Obama asks him to run.

Some expect Kaine to make a decision on the Senate race before Saturday, the largest fundraiser for the Democratic Party of Virginia this year.

About 1,500 activists from across the state are expected at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, the new chairman of the Democratic Governors Association whose national profile has been on the rise since his November reelection, will serve as keynote speaker.

"Virginia plays a central role in our national politics and is one of the only states with major elections in 2011,'' O'Malley said. "I'm looking forward to talking with Democratic activists in Virginia about how Democratic governors are working to create jobs and expand opportunity for the citizens in our states." 

Defeated congressmen Glenn Nye and Tom Perriello will join their former colleagues, including Reps. Gerry Connolly, Jim Moran and Bobby Scott, at the dinner. Terry McAuliffe, the 2009 gubernatorial candidate looking to make another run at the Governor's Mansion in 2013, will also be there.

Sen. Mark R. Warner will miss his second Jefferson-Jackson dinner in a decade. The first time was in 2006, when he was flirting with running for president and was in New Hampshire. Warner already had a family trip scheduled when this year's date was set. He will welcome attendees with a video message.

By Anita Kumar  | February 14, 2011; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Timothy M. Kaine  
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Fmr Gov. Kaine has been on a slow fade to irrelevance since the third year of his term. His tenure as DNC Chair has been disappointing: fmr Gov. Dean was far more successful at building the party. Because he's been out of state, Kaine has an uphill battle to regain connection with the electorate. Best news for the Dems is, the Republican candidates are straight outta howdy-doody time. This will be a very entertaining race.

Posted by: greenfuture | February 15, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm much more interested in seeing my former representative Tom Perriello run. He's a true statesman.

Posted by: rrap1 | February 15, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be news if Kaine WASN'T attending? This is a beat sweetener if I ever saw one.

Nice to mention Perriello under the "defeated" category without even discussing his supporters' huge online campaign to get him to run for US Senate. If it's not in the WaPo, it didn't happen, right Anita?

Catering to the powers-that-be didn't used to be the purpose of this newspaper. That's changed.

Posted by: TeddySanFran | February 15, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Teddy. What's with eliminating Perriello (and others) from the race before its even started? Kaine may be the first choice for many VA Democrats, but that doesn't mean he's first for all or even most of us. A simple mention of the fact that there are others being recruited to run would have been helpful and would have avoided the appearance of the Post leading the race.

Posted by: Clemgo3165 | February 15, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The candidate who'd motivate me to work hardest for him would be Bobby Scott, because he's a solid anti-war candidate. Kaine, I'm not sure where he stands on a lot of issues, and it seems he wants it that way.

Posted by: poliguru | February 19, 2011 8:53 PM | Report abuse

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