Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) is reportedly set to reveal his future plans, putting his party on edge as they worry the Virginia Democrat will resign and give Republicans a pickup opportunity in a state that has seen GOP gains in recent years.
Kaine, who has held the Senate seat since 2013 and was the vice presidential nominee in 2016, is expected to announce his future political plans in the state capital on Friday. Kaine has been tight-lipped about what his intentions are, but Democrats have reportedly been urging him to run for reelection — hoping to leave nothing to chance in a state where Republicans won the governorship in 2021 and flipped some key House seats in 2022.
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Democrats are already expected to face a challenging election cycle in 2024 as the party will have to defend 22 Senate seats compared to just 11 for Republicans. A handful of Democrats will also be fighting for reelection in reliably red states — giving Republicans a chance to flip some crucial seats.
As a result, Democrats are hoping to pour their funds and attention into battleground states that are expected to have tight races. A Kaine retirement would be a big blow to the party, giving Republicans another key opening to pursue while Democrats seek to defend Senate seats in red states such as Ohio and West Virginia.
There are signs that Kaine may be planning to run for a third term, as the Virginia Democrat has already hired a campaign manager and has millions of dollars in the bank, sources familiar told Politico.
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If Kaine were to step down, his retirement would open up a Virginia Senate seat for the first time in more than a decade.
Meanwhile, Republicans are eager to hear of another Democratic retirement in the Senate. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) revealed earlier this month she would not seek another term in 2024, making her the first Democrat to announce her retirement for the next election cycle.