A look at the two men who are likely on Hillary Clinton’s VP shortlist

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., reportedly is a top contender to be Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's running mate. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., reportedly is a top contender to be Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's running mate. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta

Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta

Hillary Clinton will be naming her running mate either Friday or Saturday, according to sources in her campaign, in advance of the start of the Democratic National Convention on Monday.

Here is a look at the two men reorted to be at the top of her shortlist -- Tim Kaine and Tom Vilsack.

Tim Kaine

United States Senator



Who is he?

Timothy Michael Kaine  was born in Saint Paul, Minn., on Feb. 26, 1958. He earned a law degree from Harvard then entered private practice in Virginia. He ran for a city council seat in Richmond, Va., and was then elected mayor of Richmond. By 2002, Kaine was lieutenant governor of the state, and in 2005, he was running for governor. Kaine beat the state’s attorney general, Jerry Kilgore, in 2006 for the job.

In 2009, he became the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He held that position until 2011 when he left to run for the U.S. senate.

Kaine became a U.S. senator from Virginia in 2012.

He is married to the former Anne Holton, and the couple have three children.

Explore>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here

According to the Associate Press, Kaine has been a favorite for the vice presidential slot for some time, and has the backing of President Barack Obama.

What they are saying about him

How is Kaine on the economy?


“With the economy taking center stage in this year's presidential election, voters will likely size up the party's vice presidential nominees based on their track records on economic issues. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, a former governor of the Commonwealth, is a leading candidate to be Hillary Clinton's running mate on the Democratic ticket. If so, Kaine has a record that should provide some solid talking points. Kaine was sworn in as Virginia's 70th governor in January 2006, just as the Great Recession was about to send the national economy in reverse and begin a wave of layoffs that left millions of workers sidelined.”

Kaine could offer political boost

ExploreThe Wall Street Journal

“Hillary Clinton is on the verge of announcing her vice-presidential pick, with Democrats familiar with her search believing she will settle on a Spanish-speaking ally from a battleground state: Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. …Voters tend to focus on the top of the ticket, but Mr. Kaine could offer a political boost for the Clinton campaign. Though unflashy by his own admission, his Spanish fluency might be able to cement her lead among Hispanic voters, a key general-election constituency. He is considered a loyal figure who would mesh well with Mrs. Clinton’s leadership style.”

Progressives are angry


"A few days before Hillary Clinton is expected to unveil her running mate, a group of progressives are lashing out at Sen. Tim Kaine, widely seen as the frontrunner for the spot, over his support for loosening bank regulations. The liberal groups are furious that Kaine, along with several other Democratic senators, signed a letter urging regulators to rethink how banking rules cover regional banks. “Let's be really clear: It should be disqualifying for any potential Democratic vice presidential candidate to be part of a lobbyist-driven effort to help banks dodge consumer protection standards and regulations designed to prevent banks from destroying our economy,” Democracy for America executive director Charles Chamberlain said in a statement Thursday.

Tom Vilsack

Secretary of Agriculture

Age: 65

Who is he?

Tom Vilsack was born Pittsburgh on Dec. 13, 1950 and was placed in a Roman Catholic orphanage. He was adopted by Bud and Dolly Vilsack some months later.

Vilsack attended prep school in Pittsburgh and earned a degree from Hamilton College in New York. He earned a law degree from Albany Law School.

According to the Des Moines Register, Vilsack met his future wife, Ann, in a college cafeteria.  He struck up a conversation when Vilsack asked if she supported Richard Nixon or Hubert Humphrey for president. She answered “Humphrey.”

The couple were married and moved to Ann’s hometown, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, where Vilsack went into private practice with his father-in-law.

Vilsack was elected mayor of Mount Pleasant, then was elected to the Iowa Senate. Six years later, he was elected governor of Iowa, and served two terms. Vilsack was named the secretary of Agriculture in 2009 when Barack Obama became president.

Vilsack and his wife have two sons.

What are they saying about Tom Vilsack?

Not exactly pizzazz, but loyalty 


"As Hillary Clinton prepares to announce her vice presidential nominee as early as Friday, one man has emerged as the dark horse candidate: Tom Vilsack. A former governor of Iowa, Vilsack has been President Barack Obama's agriculture secretary since 2009. He wouldn't exactly add pizzazz and zip to the Democratic ticket, but for anyone who knows the Clintons intimately, it is no surprise that the 65-year-old has risen to the top of the running mate short list. In recent days, sources say Vilsack and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine have emerged the two leading contenders. But several others -- including Labor Secretary Tom Perez, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren still remain in the mix."

Vilsack's stock has risen


"Fast approaching her final decision on a running mate, Hillary Clinton appears to be looking closely at Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Labor Secretary Tom Perez, say multiple people who are in regular contact with her inner circle. But it’s another member of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet whose stock has been steadily and notably rising in recent days, vaulting him into what close Clinton friends call the “top tier": Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. A subject of increasing speculation within Clinton’s political orbit over the past two weeks, the former Iowa governor was also the talk of Democrats at the National Governors Association meeting in Des Moines over the weekend, said people familiar with the proceedings — especially after Donald Trump introduced another Midwestern state executive, Indiana’s Mike Pence, as his own running mate."

About the Author