Hillary Clinton picks Senator Tim Kaine as running mate

Hilary Clinton and Tim Kaine. PHOTO: AP

HILLARY Clinton named Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate on Friday, adding a centrist former governor of a crucial battleground state to the Democratic ticket.

In a text message to supporters, the presumptive Democratic nominee said, “I’m thrilled to tell you this first: I’ve chosen Sen. Tim Kaine as my running mate”.

On Twitter a few seconds later, Clinton described Kaine as “a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others”.

Al Jazeera revealed that she called him “a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it”.

Clinton’s pick came a day after her opponent, Donald Trump, closed out the Republican Party’s convention with a fiery address accusing her of “terrible, terrible crimes”.

Kaine, 58, had long been a favourite for Clinton’s ticket. Fluent in Spanish and active in the Senate on foreign relations and military affairs, he built a reputation for working across the aisle as Virginia’s governor and as mayor of Richmond.

In a recent interview with CBS News, Clinton noted that Kaine has never lost an election during his lengthy political career and praised him as a “world-class mayor, governor and senator”.

A favourite of Barack Obama since his early 2008 endorsement, the president told Clinton’s campaign he believed Kaine would be a strong choice during the selection process, according to a Democratic familiar with the search who was not authorised to discuss it publicly.

Those views are not shared by some liberals in the Democratic Party, who dislike his support of free trade and Wall Street.

They pushed Clinton to pick Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren or Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, intensifying their criticism of Kaine late this week as his selection appeared imminent.

Clinton’s campaign largely declined to comment on the search process, trying to keep the details – even the names of the finalists – under wraps to try to maximise the impact of their announcement.

She made no mention of her impending pick during a somber meeting on Friday with community leaders and family members affected by the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and a later campaign rally in Tampa.

She is expected to campaign with Kaine on Saturday morning at an event in Miami.