New York Times reports:
Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, the Democrats’ vice-presidential nominee in 2016, declared his support for Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Friday, providing the former vice president a coveted endorsement in a hotly contested Super Tuesday state.
“It is sad to have a president who no one holds up as a role model for America’s kids,” Mr. Kaine said. “By contrast, Joe Biden has exemplary heart, character, and experience.”
A former governor and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Mr. Kaine is the sort of establishment-aligned leader Mr. Biden has been trying to win over as he seeks to consolidate support against Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
And Mr. Kaine’s support comes at a pivotal time for Mr. Biden. Should he win the South Carolina primary on Saturday, he may enjoy a burst of momentum going into the Super Tuesday states, where one of his moderate rivals, Michael R. Bloomberg, has been pouring hundreds of millions of dollars.
Most important for Mr. Biden’s coalition are the southern states voting on Tuesday, where African-Americans make up a large share of the electorate. If Mr. Biden can fend off Mr. Bloomberg in the South, he could seek to assert himself as the dominant alternative to Mr. Sanders.
And of those southern states voting on Tuesday, Virginia could prove to be one of the more challenging contests for Mr. Biden.
That’s in part because it includes many wealthier white voters, who have been more enthusiastic about his rivals. But it’s also because he has spent little time there, while Mr. Bloomberg and some of the other Democratic candidates have held events in the state’s voter-rich cities and suburbs. Mr. Biden is holding a single rally in Virginia before the vote, on Sunday in Norfolk.
But the support of Mr. Kaine, and other prominent Democrats who are expected to rally behind Mr. Biden this weekend, may help him in the final days before voting. There is absentee voting but no early voting in Virginia.
In his statement, Mr. Kaine, who is close to former President Barack Obama, highlighted Mr. Biden’s work in the administration. And he went a step further.
A Kansas City-bred Democrat, Mr. Kaine said of Mr. Biden: “He reminds me of Harry S. Truman, an outwardly ordinary man whose work ethic, faith in the goodness of everyday Americans, and love of country made him a great president.”