Hillary Clinton’s search for a running mate is nearly complete, several Democrats close to the vice presidential process say, and she is planning to introduce her new political partner during a campaign rally in Miami on Saturday. Sources say that she will choose Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate.
Clinton has yet to reveal her choice to her campaign, and top advisers insist she hasn’t made a final conclusion, fearful of it leaking before a well-orchestrated weekend rollout is set into motion. But several longtime confidantes familiar with how she makes decisions say that by now, she has almost certainly settled on a candidate to join the Democratic ticket.
The focus of her search in the final days centers on Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, according to several Democrats close to the process, confident either contender would fit her chief criteria of being a strong governing partner and ready for the presidency.
She had not formally ruled out Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who would be the first Hispanic candidate on the party’s ticket, or Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who would be the first black vice presidential nominee. Democrats close to the process said Perez and Booker had considerable strengths, far beyond their diversity, but their limited experience in national security and government made them less likely to be selected.
“She’s not going to be waffling at the 11th hour like (Donald) Trump,” one Democrat close to the process said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy surrounding the selection. “By now, she knows who she wants and will be confident in her choice.”
The most likely plan calls for Clinton to reveal her decision in a text message to supporters late Friday before appearing with her running mate Saturday at Florida International University in Miami, where the student body is more than half Hispanic.
Kaine speaks fluent Spanish, and last week, Clinton beamed at a Virginia rally as he declared: “Estamos listos para Hillary!” or “We are ready for Hillary!”
The Clinton campaign, looking to build their email and text list, has offered supporters the chance to be the “first to know” their vice presidential pick, much like Barack Obama’s campaign did in 2008.
The consensus, even among several Democrats close to other finalists, is that Kaine will be tapped as Clinton’s vice presidential candidate. Yet other Democrats close to Clinton still cautioned in interviews Thursday against counting out Vilsack, who has the most state and federal governing experience and the longest personal relationship with Clinton.