Delegates to the Democratic National Convention on Friday gave mostly positive reviews to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s choice for vice president (VP), saying he will appeal to moderates, but also do little to soothe disenchanted supporters of US Senator Bernie Sanders.
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine received praise for his wide-ranging experience, even as many delegates acknowledged that he would not generate the level of enthusiasm or party unity as a progressive or first-ever Latino pick.
Sanders delegates in particular hoped for the selection of Senator Elizabeth Warren, who aligns more closely with Sanders on positions such as regulating Wall Street.
“People are going to discount Tim Kaine, and have in the past, but it’s going to be a lot more exciting than maybe what Bernie Sanders delegates will think,” said Katie Naranjo, a Clinton superdelegate from Austin, Texas.
She said that while Kaine might seem like a “conventional choice,” he will balance the ticket well for the general election.
Delegates were heading to Philadelphia for the convention starting tomorrow, with those who support Sanders indicating uncertainty about embracing a Clinton ticket.
Sanders endorsed Clinton last week.
It “was a horrible pick,” said Angie Morelli, a Sanders delegate from Nevada. “In a time when she is trying to cater to Sanders supporters, it was more catering to conservative voters and she’s not going to get any wave from it.”
She said she is bothered by Kaine’s association with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade pact that Sanders and Clinton oppose.
Dwight Bullard, a Florida state senator, said not one of the more than 70 Sanders delegates in his state, including himself, is happy with Kaine’s selection.
He said he worried that the centrist choice could magnify progressives’ view that Clinton will backtrack on issues important to them, such as climate change and tuition aid for college students.
“If you bring in someone with great credentials, that’s fine, but inclusivity of the progressive agenda can be a more important message,” Bullard said.
Sanders delegates were mulling ways to show support for Sanders during the convention, such as a walkout after the roll call of states on Tuesday, according to excerpts of a Slack thread on Friday obtained by The Associated Press.
However, many others also said they wanted to get direction from Sanders, who was scheduled to meet privately with his delegates tomorrow.
“Delegates are intensely discussing and considering options,” said Norman Solomon, a San Francisco delegate who called Kaine’s selection “unacceptable.”
Solomon leads the Bernie Delegates Network, a loose organization of more than 1,200 delegates.
Clinton settled on Kaine after vetting a diverse group of candidates that included US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and US Labor Secretary Tom Perez. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, one of two black senators, was also considered.
Clinton delegate Roger Salazar of California said he was rooting for Clinton to select US Representative Xavier Becerra, a Hispanic and one of the most powerful Democrats in the House.
However, Salazar, a longtime party strategist, called Kaine “a pretty solid choice.”
Jocelyn Bucaro, an Ohio superdelegate and Clinton supporter, praised Kaine as someone who would appeal to a broad range of voters in swing states, even Republicans uncomfortable with Trump.
“The most important consideration is his ability to step in as president, and he clearly has the experience, knowledge, intelligence and temperament to do that,” Bucaro said.
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