Virginia Democratic senator Tim Kaine announced Friday that he will run for another term in 2024.
The news gives Democrats some hope as they prepare to defend an unfavorable Senate map in the next election cycle.
Democrats performed better than anticipated in last year's Senate elections, expanding their majority by one seat with a crucial pickup in Pennsylvania.
But Democrats will be defending a tough map in 2024, with as many as eight vulnerable Senate seats up for grabs, some in Trump-friendly states like Montana and West Virginia. By contrast, Republicans are defending no vulnerable seats.
Kaine, who won re-election easily in 2018, gave Democrats some good news by sharing his plans to seek a third term.
"I have been really grappling with what to do with respect to my time in the Senate, and I’m very happy to announce that I’m going to run for a third term in the Senate," Kaine. "I’m a servant. I love Virginia. I’m proud of what I’ve done."
Virginia is bluer than other battlegrounds but is still seen as a ripe target for Republicans after Governor Glenn Youngkin's (R) upset victory in 2021, which rode a wave of backlash against wokeness and critical race theory to turn the state red for the first time in a decade.
Republicans failed to replicate 2021's gains in last year's midterm elections, as a predicted "red wave" fell short nationally. Some early signs of trouble came from Virginia, where vulnerable Democrat Abigail Spanberger held onto her seat by a hair.
While Virginia is still "a little bit on the blue side," Kaine said Democrats cannot take the state for granted.
“Look, the success of Gov. Younkin and the statewide ticket in ’21 shows you that, hey, Virginians will vote for Republicans in statewide elections,” he said.
Kaine served as mayor of Richmond and governor of Virginia before entering the Senate in 2013.
He was famously Hillary Clinton's running mate in 2016 when she lost to Donald Trump in a historic upset.
In response to Kaine's career news, the National Republican Senatorial Committee told Fox News that Virginians "have shown they’re willing to vote Republican with the right candidate and the right political environment."
"We’re going to keep a close eye on Virginia and focus on recruiting a strong candidate who can raise the resources necessary to compete."