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Sen. Tim Kaine says he’s running for reelection to keep Republican crosshairs away from Virginia in 2024

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine visited Alexandria for a reelection campaign happy hour on Monday, and said he’s partly running to keep Virginia out of Republican crosshairs in 2024.

Kaine says that he’s concerned about former President Donald Trump’s calls to protest if he is indicted today.

“Obviously I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow (today),” Kaine said at Pork Barrel BBQ in Del Ray. “I’m worried about it. You learn not to dismiss it.”

Kaine continued, “It’s just not a good time for our country. It’s not a good time for people that have energy and passion for doing good to kind of move aside, because there’s real issues at stake about the future of our democracy. What we’ve seen in the last few years, particularly on January 6, but there was a long run up to it, a long set of consequences to it.”

Kaine announced in January that he was running for a third term in 2024, and said that there would be “some chaos” in the national democratic party if he chose not to run. The former 2016 democratic vice presidential candidate is a former Governor of Virginia and Mayor of Richmond. Virginia’s other U.S. Senate seat is filled by Democrat Mark Warner, also a former governor.

“It’s probably a little more likely that at the national level, the Republican Party would said, ‘Oh, great. Virginia has an open seat, we’re all in in Virginia,'” Kaine said. “Right now, they’re probably looking more at Ohio, West Virginia or Montana. If I can keep their attention off us (in Virginia), then that’s valuable.”

The audience was full of local elected officials, including Mayor Justin Wilson, who recalled being in Richmond when Kaine announced his intention to run for reelection.

“I believe about eight different people called me and told me they would run if you (Kaine) were not running that day,” Wilson said. “The biggest relief in the world was when I heard that Sen. Tim Kaine is going to run for reelection to be our senator for another six years.”

Kaine said that the decision to run again wasn’t easy.

“It was a hard decision, because it’s an eight year decision,” he said. “Two years of campaigning, six years of service. And an eight-year decision when you’re 65 is different than when you’re 55 or 45… But the ability to do good every day, still energizes and excites me.”