Dem Sen Kaine: Virginia State Gov’t Elections ‘Will Be a Bellwether for 2018’

Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sen. Tim Kaine (R-VA) urged voters to watch this year’s elections in his home state of Virginia, which he said would be a bellwether for 2018.

According to Kaine, more Democratic voters participated in that state’s primary than Republicans, a sign he argued was positive for his party.

Partial transcript as follows:

HAROLD FORD, JR., PROFESSOR, UNIV. OF MICHIGAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY: Look, you’re making a point. I don’t know. It’s amazing we’re even having the conversation and I applaud you and I applaud all the politicians across Virginia who’ve stood up here.

I have a question that’s related but slightly unrelated.

This issue obviously is going to be prevalent in political races. What do Democrats have to do in addition to talking about these things —

KAINE: Yes.

FORD: — to resonate with voters? And I think you are uniquely qualified to talk about it because you’re up for reelection —

KAINE: Yes.

FORD: — as we speak.

KAINE: You know, I think there’s been a state that has had as big a political transformation in the last 20 years than Virginia, from super reliably red to now blue, three in a row in presidential elections.

We’ve done it by being pro-growth progressives. On economic issues, while the Republicans say we want to grow the economy, we don’t say well, we just want to make it fairer that we do. We say we want to grow the economy and our strategy of skills — better skills, better wages, better jobs is more likely to produce economic growth than the less taxes, less regulations strategy. What Dems need is a crisp economic message that’s about growth.

And so, if we’re pro — you know, we’re pro-growth progressives in Virginia now. Every statewide office holder is a Democratic. We’ve gone blue three in a row.

SCARBOROUGH: Wow.

KAINE: And as for the health of the Democratic Party going into 2018 —

SCARBOROUGH: Yes.

KAINE: — watch the Virginia governor’s race in 2017. Watch our House of Delegates races — 100 races up. Two years ago we could only get 60 Democrats to run in 100 seats. This year we’ve got 90 Democrats running in 100 seats.

In a primary in June, Democratic turnout was way larger than Republican turnout.

SCARBOROUGH: It’s always —

KAINE: This will be a bellwether for 2018.

SCARBOROUGH: Virginia’s off-year election is always a bellwether. It was in ’93, it was in 2009, and yes, I’m sure it will be this year, too.

KAINE: Yes.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor


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