Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) leaves the Senate floor on Capitol Hill, November 21, 2013.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty

Sen. Tim Kaine endorses Hillary Clinton for 2016

Updated

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) isn’t waiting for Hillary Clinton to make up her mind on running again to become the first female president in 2016.

The Virginia Democrat and former governor and Democratic National Committee chairman announced his support for Clinton Saturday at a breakfast event in South Carolina.

South Carolina and its early primary, of course, are seen as critical to the fortunes of presidential candidates.  

Back in February 2007, Kaine endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama – who eventually defeated Clinton in a bruising primary – for a seat in the Oval Office. With that endorsement, Kaine became the first governor outside of Obama’s home state of Illinois to officially back Obama’s bid for commander-in-chief.  

Kaine is considered by some politicos as a possible vice presidential pick for Clinton if she decides to run.

Kaine, according to prepared remarks, announced at the South Carolina Women’s Democratic Council event in Columbia that he has joined the Ready for Hillary super political action committee effort. He described Clinton as an “American optimist” and applauded her background in domestic and foreign policy.

He also touched on his 2007 endorsement of Obama. “I made my decision early because I knew something—he was the right person for the job but getting there would be hard. And I figured that the sooner I started helping him in Virginia, the more helpful I would be,” Kaine said.

 “I’m stating my support for Hillary Clinton today for the same reason. She’s the right person for the job. I’ll be starting my fifth year in the Senate on Inauguration Day 2017 and she’s the partner I know I’ll want to be working with in the White House on all fronts,” he added.

 Kaine is in The Palmetto State to keynote the annual South Carolina Jefferson Jackson Dinner.

Clinton, who is the clear front runner to be the party’s standard-bearer in 2016, said last month that she’s thinking about running. The former secretary of state added quickly, “But I am going to continue to think about it for a while.”

Nonetheless, several Democratic allies have already begun to rally around Clinton.

In June 2013, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri (who also backed Obama in 2008) became the first sitting member of Congress to endorse Clinton. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York followed suit in November of 2013. Schumer, Clinton’s former colleague in the upper chamber of Congress, made the endorsement announcement at an Iowa Democratic Party dinner, declaring: “It’s time for a woman to be president.” And last fall, all of the Democratic women in the Senate signed a letter privately urging Clinton to run.

Ready For Hillary has raised more than $5.75 million since it launched a little over a year ago.  

The Republican field is far less certain. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows five potential candidates within four percentage points of one another. That includes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul each with 14% support followed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (13%), Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (11%) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (10%).

And in a hypothetical Bush versus Clinton matchup, Clinton would beat Bush 53% to 41%, according to the survey.

The presidential election is 921 days away.

Hillary Clinton

Sen. Tim Kaine endorses Hillary Clinton for 2016

Updated