Tim Kaine has spent many weeks out of state ignoring his elected responsibilities and instead campaigning for Barack Obama…that is because if he wants his political career to continue, he has to get the VP nod.
Kaine is racking up an unenviable record as governor. He seems to have no real strength in his party, no real pull with the legislature, and has neither the longstanding popular support of Mark Warner or even the bubble popularity once held by Jim Gilmore. TheGov does not have a record that would get him an automatic reelection…which leads to some interesting speculation on his future plans.
Think of it…once he leaves office, what happens? One senate seat is held by Jim Webb…and even if Webb were tabbed by Obama and then became VP, Kaine would have to appoint a successor, and the special election for the balance of the term would not be until 2010…and no matter what the tea leaves say for 2008, the other senate seat is not up until 2014…and it may be held by a Democrat. I doubt he could get another nod to run for governor, and the Richmond area is represented in great part by two popular incumbents (Scott and Cantor), so there is no electoral op there.
That leaves appointed office. My pals at TC speculate would Kaine take an appointed slot and raise Bill Bolling to governor, allow him to run as an incumbent, and give the GOP a big leg up in the 2009 elections? He might, but it would have to be for VP. If the nominee of the party comes to you and says please help me lead the country, I bet he would be forgiven for accepting the nod. But a cabinet position? I bet just as much the other way, that if he leaves office for the cabinet he will not be forgiven for giving up the governor’s mansion.
So, with no real opportunities or options for higher elected office on his own, all that is left is an appointed position. It has to be the VP slot…he will be forgiven for accepting that. But if he leaves the governorship for the cabinet, that will burn his bridges for elected office for a lonnnnnnggggggg time.
So it is the national ticket, or a long lucrative legal career with a big name law firm.
You heard it here first.