STERLING - Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine has emerged as the leading contender to join the Democratic ticket as Hillary Clinton's running mate, according to two Democrats, who both cautioned that Clinton has not made a final decision and could yet change directions.
The announcement of Clinton's pick could come as early as Friday afternoon in Florida, a crucial general election battleground state. The timing is aimed at shifting attention away from the end of Donald Trump's Republican convention and generating excitement before the start of Clinton's own convention next week in Philadelphia.
Kaine, 58, has been a favorite for the vice presidential slot since the start of Clinton's search process. He has been active in the Senate on foreign relations and military affairs and built a reputation for working across the aisle as Virginia's governor and as mayor of Richmond.
"I'm glad the waiting game is nearly over," Kaine told reporters Thursday after an event in northern Virginia, deflecting questions about whether he was about to join the ticket.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a longtime friend of Clinton's, is still in the mix, according to one of the two Democrats, who is close to the Clintons. Both Democrats are familiar with the selection process and spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.
Clinton's campaign declined to comment.
Clinton's choice will be the culmination of a closely held search for a running mate, run by a small group of longtime advisers and confidantes.
Preparing for a showdown with Trump, Clinton has sought to project an inclusive campaign aimed at "breaking down barriers and building bridges" to mobilize the diverse coalition of voters who twice elected President Barack Obama.
Clinton has also considered Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a favorite of liberals; Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Labor Secretary Tom Perez;and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.
Clinton is opening a two-day campaign swing in Florida on Friday. She's expected to unveil her running mate at either a Friday afternoon rally at the state fairgrounds in Tampa or at a Saturday event at Florida International University in Miami, where two-thirds of the student body is Hispanic.
The two locations give Clinton's campaign the flexibility to make the announcement at the most optimal time. The campaign is expected to first inform donors, volunteers and activists by text message and has been encouraging supporters to sign up for such an update.
After the convention, Clinton and her vice presidential choice will depart on a campaign bus tour, reminiscent of Bill Clinton's "First 1,000 Miles" tour with Al Gore after the party's 1992 convention.
Kaine is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and worked as a lawyer on fair housing and civil rights issues. He has been considered a leading vice presidential contender for weeks based on his broad political experience in Virginia, another presidential battleground.
"One of the main reasons that I'm being considered is because of Virginia," Kaine said. "It's not necessarily just because of me. It's because Virginia is really important."
The Virginian is seen as a safe choice against Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Kaine could help Clinton woo moderate voters who have been turned off by Trump's provocative rhetoric.
Kaine campaigned with Clinton last week in northern Virginia, where he spoke briefly in Spanish and argued that Trump was unqualified, untested and untrustworthy.
"Do you want a 'you're fired' president or a 'you're hired' president," Kaine said in Annandale, Virginia, as Clinton nodded. "Do you want a trash-talking president or a bridge-building president?"
Kaine took a year off from law school as a young man to work with Jesuit missionaries at a vocational school in Honduras. His friends have described him as someone steeped in his convictions and his Roman Catholic faith.
He and his wife, Anne Holton, are longtime members of Richmond's St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, a predominantly black congregation in a poor part of town. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Kaine moved to Virginia after meeting Holton at Harvard Law School.
She currently serves as Virginia's secretary of education and is the daughter of former Virginia Gov. A. Linwood Holton Jr., a Republican. The couple have three children; their eldest son, Nat, is serving as a Marine.
1 of 227
Tim Kaine photographed with Nat, his first son, in 1990.
Tim Kaine became mayor in 1998 after winning a third two-year term on Richmond’s City Council.
Richmond Mayor Timothy Kaine listens during a council meeting at City Hall on 11/23/98. He is flanked by Richmond Vice-Mayor Rudy McCollum Jr (left) and Richmond Interim City Manager Connie Bawcum.
Richmond City Council members Tim Kaine and Viola Baskerville check out a water-damaged ceiling at Armstrong High School. The roof at the then-43-year-old building had been patched but never replaced.
Richmond Mayor Timothy Kaine acknowledges members in the audience during his State of the City address at the City Council meeting 1/11/99.
Mayor Timothy Kaine, who resigned from Richmond City Council, Sept. 10, 2001, displays to council a print given to him by his staff as a gift during council meeting.
Newly-elected mayor of Richmond Timothy M. Kaine, addresses the crowd at City Council chambers July 1, 1998 after being sworn in.
Richmond Mayor Timothy M. Kaine listens to people lined up to speak in opposition to the hiring of Calvin D. Jamison as City Manager during a council meeting at City Hall on 11/23/98.
After City Council colleagues elected him mayor of Richmond, Tim Kaine addressed spectators, family and friends on July 1, 1998, at City Hall.
Lt. Gov.-elect Timothy M. Kaine (left) and Gov.-elect Mark R. Warner celebrate their victories at the Richmond Marriott Nov. 6, 2001.
Timothy M. Kaine (left) the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, greets his Republican counterpart, Jay Katzen on Oct. 5, 2001, just before their debate at the University of Richmond. Kaine was a former mayor of Richmond and Katzen was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.
Soichi Aikawa (far right) mayor of Urawa, Japan, Richmond's sister city, Richmond Mayor Timothy M. Kaine and Richmond City Council member Gwen Hedgepeth took turns helping to plant a sweet osmanthus tree at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens at 1800 Lakeside Ave.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, governor Timothy M. Kaine and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, undertake a walkabout on Capitol Square, from the executive mansion to the South portico of the capitol in Richmond on Thursday, May 3, 2007. The walkabout was lined by extraordinary Virginians who have made great contributions to the Commonwealth. The 54 people who won the Royal Walkabout Lottery also lined the queen's path.
Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine reads a book at Cople Elementary School in Westmoreland County on June 7, 2002.
Timothy M. Kaine gives supporters a hug as he walks on stage at the Richmond Marriott to celebrate his victory for lieutenant governor Nov. 6, 2001. His father-in-law, former Gov. Linwood Holton, is on the right.
State Sen. H. Russell Potts, Jr., R-Winchester (right) smiles as Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine talks about the Senate resolution honoring Potts during the floor session of the Virginia Senate at the State Capitol in Richmond, March 1, 2004. Potts, a former athletic administrator, had been named to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
State Sen. Thomas K. Norment, Jr., R-James City (center, back to camera) waits for an answer to a technical question posed to (from left) Senate Clerk Susan Clarke Schaar, Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, and Deputy Senate Clerk John Garrett, during a break in the floor session of the Virginia Senate on Feb. 20, 2004, at the state Capitol in Richmond.
Richmond Mayor Timothy M. Kaine addresses the media following a closed-door session in which the status of Leonidas Young (far right) as a member of city council was discussed in light of his recent legal troubles.
Richmond Mayor Timothy M. Kaine wipes away a tear while laughing during a roast in his 'honor' at the Jefferson Hotel on Nov. 15, 1999 to raise funds for the Emergency Shelter Inc.
Jelena Matkovic, 19, of Serbia locates her hometown on a map for Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Aug. 2, 2002 at the Maggie L. Walker Governor's School. Kaine spoke to a group of international students participating in Project B.R.I.D.G.E., an intensive 12-day leadership workshop hosted by the Council for America's First Freedom. From left are Davorka Zadro, 18, of Croatia; Matkovic, Stephanie Byers, 17 of Chesterfield County; and Karl Mercer, 15, of Hanover County.
Virginia Lt. Gov.-elect Timothy M. Kaine relaxes in his Richmond office Nov. 7, 2001, the morning after winning the race for the state's second-highest office.
Retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark (left) speaks with Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine during the Democratic Party of Virginia's Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Richmond Feb. 7, 2004.
Mayor Timothy M. Kaine cuts the ribbon during the YMCA's dedication of the new Capital One Outreach Center and The Mary Morton Parsons Wellness Center on March 2, 2000.
Richmond Mayor Timothy M. Kaine at Richmond City Council meeting on 7/26/99.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine gave his wife, first lady Anne Holton, a kiss after he finished his State of the Commonwealth speech before the joint legislative session in Richmond, Jan. 16, 2006.
Mattaponi Indian Chief Carl Lone Eagle Custalow (left) presents the annual tax tribute from members of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Indian tribes to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and first lady Anne Holton at the Executive Mansion in Richmond Nov. 22, 2006. The traditional ceremony was held inside the mansion due to the rain. A treaty signed in 1646 calls for the tribes to make an annual offering to the governor, traditionally the day before Thanksgiving, in lieu of paying taxes.
Richmond Mayor Tim Kaine talks with a visitor just before the Richmond City Council meeting on July 9, 2001.
Gov.-elect Timothy M. Kaine greets the crowd after his victory on Nov. 8, 2005.
On board the back of a fire department vehicle, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine tours the flooded downtown area of Franklin, Va. with a truck load of members of the media on Oct. 10, 2006.
Stanley Lowe, vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservaton (left) talked with Richmond Mayor Timothy M. Kaine (right) before addressing a gathering at the Black History Museum in the Jackson Ward section of Richmond, June 25, 2001, where he announced that the Historic Jackson Ward Landmark District had been named one of the 11 most endangered historic places in the country.
Gov.-elect Timothy M. Kaine received a salute from Virginia state troopers as he arrived at the old Capitol in Williamsburg to be sworn in as governor.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine waves along the route of the Ukrop's Christmas parade.
Barbara Miller, of Richmond, takes first lady Anne Holton's driver's license at the Main Street Station polling station around 7 a.m. Tuesday morning as her husband, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, waits his turn.
Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine cycles spent cartridges out of his gun after a round of skeet shooting before a news conference Aug. 26, 2005, in Hardy, Va. Kaine stressed his outdoors lifestyle and support for the 2nd Amendment.
Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the Democratic nominee for governor, watches returns on the internet on Nov. 8, 2005 in Richmond.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine delivers his first State of the Commonwealth speech Jan. 16, 2006. At rear left is House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, and rear right is Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.
Gov. Mark R. Warner (right, front) and Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (second from left) raft through the Hollywood Rapids of the James River to promote Virginia tourism. Warner's daughter, Gillian, is seated next to him.
Governor Timothy M. Kaine and his wife Anne Holton leave a ceremony held in remembrance of the fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001. The governor was joined by other elected officials, the Virginia National Guard Color Guard, first responders and other public safety officials.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and first lady Anne Holton watch President George W. Bush's State of the Union Address inside the Executive Mansion in Richmond, on Jan. 31, 2006.
Virginia Lt. Gov. and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine speaks at the Labor Day Parade Monday, Sept. 6, 2004, in Buena Vista, Va.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine speaks during an informal press conference in the lobby of the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond, VA Friday, Feb. 2, 2007.
Virginia Governor-elect Tim Kaine reacts to applause from the Richmond Renaissance at the organization's annual meeting at the Jefferson Hotel. Kaine addressed the group.
Tim Kaine speaks during the gubernatorial debate against Jerry Kilgore at the Hilton McLean in Tysons Corner on Tuesday, September 13, 2005.
Gov. Tim Kaine, visiting Richmond International Raceway for the Crown Royal 400, chatted with fans in the infield. Here, he poses for a picture with Sunsiri Martin of Sandston.
Philip Vasquez, head of the Democratic Latino Organization of Virginia, holds up a paper signed, in Spanish, by Virginia Governor-elect Tim Kaine, after he met the media and announced his transition team during a news conference in Richmond, VA Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005.
Gov. Tim Kaine delivers the keynote speech at the 2006 Winter Commencement Convocation at Virginia State University in Petersburg Saturday. (Lisa Billings/For the Times-Dispatch)
Lt. Governor Timothy Kaine, during an interview with reporter Frank Green on 1/9/04.
Virginia Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine takes aim while shooting skeet in Hardy, Va., before a news conference Friday, Aug. 26, 2005. Kaine stressed his outdoors lifestyle and support for the 2nd Amendment.
Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell (left) listens as Gov. Tim Kaine discusses his action on firearms background checks during a press conference at the Patrick Henry Building at Capitol Square in Richmond.
Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner, left, receives a standing ovation from cabinet members and Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, right, as he enters the committee room of the General Assembly Building in Richmond to present his budget proposals to the joint House and Senate money committees Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2003.
Gov. Tim Kaine is greeted by his wife, Anne Holton, as he arrives to deliver his first State of the Commonwealth speech on Monday 1/16/06.
Tim Kaine briefly donned a Krispy Kreme hat to show his affection for the shop at 4910 W. Broad St., which was holding an auction of some Krispy Kreme memorabilia for charity. The shop is actually across the city line in Henrico, and Kaine joked about attempts by the city to annex the donut shop.
Gov.-elect Tim Kaine (left) and Gov. Mark Warner share a smile as they meet with reporters outside the Executive Mansion on Friday, Nov. 11, 2005.
Richmond Mayor Tim Kaine during an interview July 7, 1998.
Richmond Mayor Tim Kaine chaired a City Council meeting at Richmond city hall on July 26, 1999.
Virginia Lt. Governor Tim Kaine speaks at a news conference Tuesday morning, May 31, 2005, on the steps of the Bristol, Va., courthouse. Kaine, a Democrat who is running for the governor's seat, outlined his economic plan for Southwest Virginia.
Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, right, tries to get the attention of a Senator after the vote to over ride his ruling against a request that would have stripped Sen. H. Russell Potts, Jr., R-Winchester, left, of committee assignments and chairmanship during the floor session of the Virginia Senate at the State Capitol in Richmond, VA, Wednesday, April 6, 2005. Some members of the Senate Republicans are trying to oust Potts after he declared he is running for Governor as an independent.
Democratic Tim Kaine, left, shakes hands with Republican Jerry Kilgore, right, as Dr. Larry Sabato, center, watches after the last in a series of Kaine-Kilgore gubernatorial debates in Richmond on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005.
Former Virginia Governor and current Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, left, announced in Richmond his endorsement Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005 for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, right, during a news conference in a city park overlooking the skyline.
Gov. Tim Kaine awaits his turn to speak at the Virginia21 Leadership luncheon. At the table with him is Catherine Tobin, left, of the University of Virginia; and Greg Paulsen of James Madison University.
Gov. Tim Kaine and first lady Anne Holton arrive at the Main Street Station polling station around 7 a.m. Tuesday morning to cast their votes. They are greeted by an energetic Amber Smith, who was there representing her mother Chandra Smith, a 6th district candidate for the Richmond School Board.
Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, center, received the backing of former Virginia Governor and current Richmond, VA Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, right, during an announcement in Richmond on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005 in a city park overlooking the Richmond skyline.
Gov. Tim Kaine delivers the keynote speech at a luncheon sponsored by Virginia21 Thursday at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.
Gov.-elect Tim Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton Kaine embrace on stage during his acceptance speech.
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, left, shakes hands with Stephen King during a campaign fundraiser for Jim Webb in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Sept. 24, 2006.
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine provides an update on how storm conditions are affecting the state during a news conference at the State Police Headquarters on Midlothian Turnpike.
Gov. Tim Kaine and first lady Anne Holton kick off the 68th National Folk Festival 10/13/06
Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, left, shares a laugh with publisher Tom Silvestri, center, and Ross Mackenzie, right, editor of the editorial page, as he meets with the Times-Dispatch editorial board in Richmond on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2005.
Nat Dance, owner of Boss night club, talks about the problem of how to handle the late-night crowds that hang out on and near West Broad Street in the VCU area. From left: city manager Calvin Jamison, city council member Denise McQuinn, Sa'ad El Amin, and mayor Tim Kaine. They were in the parking lot of the Community Pride at West Grace Street and Harrison Street. It was just after 2 a.m.
Governor Tim Kaine pumps E85 ethanol fuel into his vehicle during a press conference announcing that General Motors is providing Virginia with an E85-capable Chevrolet Tahoe to promote fuel usage in the Commonwealth. Photo taken Monday, October 16, 2006.
This story originally ran on July 12, 1987 after murderer Richard Lee Whitley was executed i…
This story was originally published on Dec. 11, 1993, after a settlement had been reached in…
This profile of Tim Kaine originally ran Oct. 23, 2005 ahead of his election as governor.
The following story was originally published Jan. 3, 2010 near the end of Tim Kaine's term a…
This announcement originally ran on Nov. 25, 1984. It apparently was the second mention of T…