LAS VEGAS — Prominent Nevada Democrats had mixed reactions Friday after Hillary Clinton announced that Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine will be her running mate, with some praising his varied resume and others saying the choice did little to heal rifts with Bernie Sanders supporters.
The announcement came a few days before the party meets for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Kaine is a centrist former governor of a crucial battleground state and served as mayor of Richmond before his election to the Senate, where he’s active on foreign relations and military affairs.
“His history is fantastic,” said Democratic state Sen. Tick Segerblom, who had backed Sanders. “To be a progressive in a Southern state is really a miracle.”
Fellow Sanders supporter Angie Morelli, who’s a delegate to the convention, described Kaine as “a horrible pick.” She said she’s bothered by Kaine’s association with the “military industrial complex” and his support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.
“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,” said Morelli, who said she would have preferred New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker or Labor Secretary Tom Perez for the slot. “I can’t believe some of the decisions she’s making right now.”
Segerblom brushed off those concerns.
“Nobody’s going to be perfect, and he’s not Bernie Sanders,” he said.
Clinton supporter and state Sen. Aaron Ford said he was hoping she would choose Kaine, who he characterized as one of the most qualified vice presidential candidates in history.
“I also think he’s demonstrated he has a backbone,” Ford said. “He stood up to the gun lobby in his own backyard in the wake of the shootings at Virginia Tech.”
While Kaine is not a minority, supporters say it’s a plus that he speaks Spanish — a language he learned during a mission trip to Honduras while in law school.
“I think his unique fluency in Spanish demonstrates an overt and intentional effort” to “transcend color lines,” Ford said.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said the move drew a sharp contrast with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate Gov. Mike Pence, who he said were running on a platform of “discrimination and dysfunction.”
“The Clinton-Kaine ticket is everything the Trump-Pence ticket is not: competent, steady and committed to giving all Americans a fair shot to succeed,” Reid said in a statement.