RICHMOND (WWBT) - Former Governor Tim Kaine met with the media for the first time as a candidate for the U.S. Senate.
The new candidate is going back to basics. Talking about his career as a Richmond City Councilman and Ginter Park resident.
He is working hard to make the race about Virginia - not Washington.
In a media gaggle eerily reminiscent of his time as Virginia's governor, Tim Kaine served and volleyed with a familiar press corp.
His message? I'm the same guy I always was.
"I don't need to establish myself as a Virginia candidate," Kaine said. "I've lived in Richmond for 26 years and I've served the people of my city and my commonwealth since July 1st 1994 in elected office."
But while Kaine looks and sounds like the same candidate who ran for city council more than 15 years ago, his career indicates he is a much different man.
He's served as governor, Lt. governor, national chairman for a winning presidential candidate and most recently, democratic national committee chairman, all jobs that bring with them their own national baggage.
Its baggage Kaine hopes to leave in Washington.
"I don't need to back away from anything I've been involved in because I never left living over on Confederate Avenue in Ginter Park," said Kaine. "And I never left being a Richmonder."
But Republicans aren't buying that line. They are already labeling him a 'liberal' and questioning his record as governor.
Kaite Wright, a spokesperson for former Senator George Allen, was very critical of Kaine's time in the Governor's mansion. In a statement she wrote that Kaine's tenure was "marked by his proposals calling for staggering tax increases and by substantial job losses for Virginians."
Allen is seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.
Kaine stands by his record in Richmond and believes his accomplishments will be something that attracts voters, because of who he is, not who he is connected to.
"I am very proud of my party and the views of my party but I don't feel like I have to tow anyone's line," he said.
Kaine might not be alone in the race for the Democratic nomination. Congressman Bobby Scott is still mulling a run.
Today Kaine said if someone wants to run they should jump into the race.
And you can see extended clips from Governor Kaine's announcement on our political blog, DecisionVirginia.com
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