January 5, 2009
Virginia Governor Is Named D.N.C. Chief
By ADAM NAGOURNEY
WASHINGTON — Gov. Tim Kaine, of Virginia, who was a top contender to be President-elect Barack Obama’s running mate, has been tapped by him to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Democrats familiar with the decision said Sunday.
Mr. Kaine will succeed Howard Dean as the party chairman when the party elects officers at its meeting here this month. By tradition, the committee defers to the choice of a sitting president.
Mr. Kaine was elected governor in 2005, but is barred by the state’s Constitution from seeking re-election. His term expires at the end of 2009. Mr. Obama’s associates said Mr. Kaine would serve as party chairman during his last year as governor, with an executive director running the day-to-day operations, an arrangement that is not unusual. At the end of his term, Mr. Kaine will work full time in his new position.
The decision by Mr. Obama was first reported by The Washington Post on its Web site on Sunday afternoon.
Mr. Kaine, 50, is a lawyer who was little known outside his home state before Mr. Obama began considering him as a running mate. He previously served as the state’s lieutenant governor.
His selection is the latest reflection of the extent to which Virginia is moving into the Democratic column. Mr. Kaine succeeded another Democrat, Mark Warner, as governor. Mr. Warner was elected to the United States Senate from Virginia in November. Mr. Obama, after making a concerted effort in Virginia, easily defeated John McCain in the state.
Mr. Kaine endorsed Mr. Obama early in the presidential contest, and the two became close as Mr. Obama spent a lot of time campaigning in Virginia. And Mr. Kaine, like Mr. Obama, is a graduate of Harvard Law School.