Former Virginia governor Tim Kaine has said in the past that he would not be a candidate for U.S. Senate if Democratic incumbent Jim Webb decided not to seek a second term. But Kaine also repeatedly said, more with hope than conviction, that Webb would run. Now that Webb has decided to retire, will Kaine reconsider?
Kaine, after all, was a popular governor, and was on Barack Obama’s final list of three for vice president in 2008. He has established a national profile, at least among political activists, as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, so raising money might not be a problem.
But if Kaine does get into the race, he would face an uphill fight as the Democratic nominee -- and even getting that far would not be a sure thing. His DNC predecessor Terry McAuliffe, who is considering a second gubernatorial run in 2013, did not rule out a Senate bid on Wednesday. Former congressman Tom Periello, a hero to liberals, seems interested as well.
But national party insiders see Kaine as their best bet, and say Kaine “might have trouble saying no if the president personally appeals to him to run for Senate,” the Washington Post reports. In addition, Nick Benton of the Falls Church News-Press says Kaine “has an equal if not stronger chance” as Webb would have had.
Kaine issued a statement about Webb’s retirement on Wednesday, but did not comment on his own plans. A talk with President Obama is probably in store.
Elsewhere in the DMV:
* The progressive group D.C. for Democracy endorsed interim At-Large Councilmember Sekou Biddle in the April 26 special election Wednesday evening. Biddle received 14 first-choice votes, to 12 for Bryan Weaver, two for Alan Page, and one for Joshua Lopez. After tallying second choices, Biddle won the endorsement.
* The Washington Examiner reports Michelle Rhee “said D.C. Public Schools would appeal an arbitrator’s ruling that Rhee improperly terminated 75 teachers in 2008 and the school system must offer them reinstatement and about $7.5 million back pay.” But as of Tuesday, “a spokeswoman for Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson maintained that the school system had not reached a decision about an appeal.”
* A hearing on a proposed D.C. snow clearing bill revealed that “certain D.C. government agencies, in particular schools and Parks and Recreation, haven’t been carrying out their responsibilities” under already existing law, blogger Richard Layman writes.
* The Examiner reports the D.C. Attorney General’s Office “is planning to revive the dozens of drunken driving cases it has dropped in recent weeks as the city’s troubled alcohol breath-test program continues to fail.”
* WTOP reports that a “disgruntled Metro operator says she is so fed up over shelling out more for health care, and not receiving a pay raise, that Arizona-style shootings could happen at her union hall.” ATU Local 689 President Jackie Jeter mentioned the comment in the union’s newsletter. When asked for a comment, Jeter said, “I am truly not interested in having this conversation with the media. I can handle the membership here at Local 689 and the newsletter is not meant to make news for WTOP to discuss and make a story.”
* Opponents of same-sex marriage in Maryland changed at least one state senator’s mind during a Tuesday hearing -- but not the way they had hoped, the Post reports. Sen. James Brochin, a Democrat who had backed civil unions but opposed gay marriage, said in a news release “that he was moved by testimony at the hearing, particularly that of the bill’s opponents, which he called ‘appalling.’”
* Maryland legislator Curt Anderson, a Democrat who chairs the Baltimore City delegation, resigned from the House of Delegates Tea Party Caucus “after his fellow city delegates threatened to remove him as chair,” Maryland Reporter says. Anderson “kept the city delegation chair post he has held for four years after he apologized profusely and got a tongue-lashing from his fellow Democrats.” Anderson said the Tea Party “was willing to accept me” despite his liberal stances on social issues, but to some of his colleagues, “it was like I joined the Ku Klux Klan.”
* Prince George’s County Council Chairwoman Ingrid Turner is concerned about County Executive Rushern Baker’s ethics legislation, the Examiner reports. She says “the county’s balance of power could be disrupted” by the proposal, and “dislikes state ethics legislation that singles out the county.” Turner said, “We’re not favoring something that’s targeted at Prince George’s County because we are all presumed to be ethical individuals and we have performed ethically.”
* The Post reports “minorities have become a majority in affluent Montgomery County for the first time, with Hispanics displacing blacks as the largest minority group.” Just 49 percent of the county’s residents “residents are non-Hispanic whites, down from almost 60 percent in 2000 and 72 percent a decade before that. The number of Hispanics rose by about two-thirds, to 165,000,” or 17 percent of the whole.
* Democrat Carl Genthner will seek a seat on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors this year, the Post reports.
* Leroy Rountree Hassell, Sr., the first black chief justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, died at age 55 Wednesday, just a week and a half after leaving his post. Hassell, who served for eight years, was ill during most of the final year in office.
* Georgetown “is in the midst of a shift in terms of the retail mix,” the Georgetown Metropolitan writes, with several chain stores closing “over the past two years or so,” to be replaced by “stores that you can’t find in Anytown, USA’s mall.”
* Here are some lovely photos of Roosevelt Island by a pair of talented 6-year-olds who happen to be my sons.
Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC