Clinton and Kaine

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine appeared together a rally last week at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale.

Hillary Clinton has picked Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate, adding to the Democratic ticket a genial and seasoned former Richmond mayor and Virginia governor who is fluent in Spanish and hails from a key swing state.

Kaine, who was Barack Obama’s runner-up in 2008, would be the first vice president from Virginia since John Tyler — another former Virginia governor — held the office for a month in 1841.

Kaine, Virginia’s governor from 2006 to 2010, gives Clinton a steady governing partner whose even temperament overshadows a strong competitive streak. He has never lost an election.

He could help Clinton take Virginia’s 13 critical electoral votes off the board, which would be a blow to Republican nominee Donald Trump.

He also could help Clinton with Hispanic voters in other swing states, such as Florida, where Clinton will introduce her running mate today.

In a time of growing concern about terror attacks, Kaine’s experience on the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees appears to have helped set him apart from others said to be on Clinton’s short list, including Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa; Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

In a tweet about her choice, Clinton wrote: "I'm thrilled to announce my running mate, @TimKaine, a man who's devoted his life to fighting for others."

Kaine was first elected to the Richmond City Council in 1994, edging Councilman Benjamin P.A. Warthen by fewer than 100 votes. He served the last two of his four terms as councilman from the 2nd District as mayor. The majority-black City Council elected him mayor on an 8-1 vote in 1998, in an era when the mayor was chosen from among council members.

Kaine held that post until he was elected lieutenant governor in 2001, topping Del. Jay Katzen, R-Fauquier. In that role, Kaine presided over the state Senate and learned to work as a No. 2 to then-Gov. Mark Warner.

As Kaine once described it: “I was like Ed McMahon to his Johnny Carson.”

Kaine was elected governor in 2005, topping Republican Jerry W. Kilgore, a former state attorney general, and state Sen. Russ Potts of Winchester, who ran as an independent.

Kaine was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, defeating former Gov. and U.S. Sen. George Allen after Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., chose to give up the seat after one term.