RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Sen. Tim Kaine received a hero’s welcome Saturday night outside his Richmond home, capping off his debut as Hillary Clinton’s running mate.
Hundreds of neighbors and other well-wishers greeted Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, on their return to their home in Richmond on a hot and sticky evening.
The Kaines had spent the day campaigning with the Democratic presidential candidate, who chose Kaine for the No. 2 spot on the Democratic ticket just 24 hours earlier.
Cheers erupted when Kaine and Holton arrived at their home in the tree-lined Ginter Park neighborhood on Richmond’s north side about 10:30 p.m. They had been in Miami at midday for his first appearance with Clinton since joining her campaign.
Kaine spoke for about 10 minutes at his homecoming, noting that he had launched his political career three decades ago in the same neighborhood when he sought a seat on the Richmond City Council. He joked that far fewer people had showed up for that announcement.
Carol A.O. Wolf, a longtime friend of the Kaines, said the close-knit neighborhood felt it important to turn out and show their support for their neighbor.
“This is his ‘hood, this is Kaine country,” said Wolf. “He may be for her, but we’re with him.”
During his remarks, Kaine told his neighbors how thankful he was for their support, as well as for their indulgence for allowing the Kaine’s yard to sometimes look a little ragged.
But he also gave a mini-stump speech, which included pointing out the importance of Virginia in presidential politics, from its history of nurturing early presidents to its current status as a battleground state.
He urged his friends and supporters to help him win the state for Clinton, saying there was too much at stake to let Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump win.
Kaine took jabs at some of Trump’s more controversial positions, including a proposed ban on the entry of Muslims from other countries. Kaine told the crowd that the American tradition is not to punish or prefer people based on religion and said, “If it’s Muslims, it could be Mormons next week.”
His wife coaxed him to finish up and told the crowd, “I’ve got to get him to bed.”
The Kaines are set to attend St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, their longtime parish, on Sunday morning.
One of the well-wishers outside the Kaine’s house was Larry Williford, a member of the church who has known Kaine for decades. Williford said he knew long ago that Kaine was destined for great things, but never pictured that Kaine would be a vice presidential candidate.
Williford joked that Kaine, who used to be a member of the church’s choir, had earned a special reward at Sunday’s church service.
“We’re thinking about letting him get a solo,” Williford said.