While headlining a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Manhattan on Tuesday night President Obama seemed to encourage DNC Chairman Tim Kaine to mount a Senate run in 2012. "There has been some speculation about our DNC chair plunging back into the hurly-burly of electoral politics. I don't know if these rumors are true, but what I do know is that I cannot imagine somebody who has been a better partner to me and a better friend to me than our DNC chair, Tim Kaine," said President Obama.
Mr. Kaine was a popular governor in the Old Dominion before taking his position at the DNC, a fact the president hit on, " Since he happened to be a really great governor for the Commonwealth of Virginia, I suspect that, should he choose to do so, he would also be an outstanding senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia," Obama said.
Kaine has not made an official announcement regarding whether or not he will run for the seat being vacated by Senator James Webb (D) in 2012. However, the former popular governor of Virginia has said that he is "leaning towards" a run.
On the Republican side, another former Virginia governor and senator, George Allen, has already announced that he will be running to recapture the Senate seat Webb took away from him in 2006. Allen is already out campaigning and raising money in an effort to claim some early momentum.
Whether Kaine takes President Obama's encouragement and enters the race or not, Virginia promises to be one of the most interesting Senate races in the country during the 2012 cycle. Republicans are eager to continue the wave that led Republican Bob McDonnell to the Governor's mansion and reclaim a Senate seat in for the state that was once considered safely red, but in recent cycles has also elected Democrats James Webb, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine and chose President Obama in 2008.