Hillary Clinton (R), Tim Kaine.jpg
US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (R) introduces her Vice Presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine (L) during a campaign event at Florida International University in Miami, Florida, USA 23 July 2016.
Photograph: EPA/RHONA WISE

In naming Tim Kaine as her running mate, Hillary Clinton made a safe choice.

Kaine is seen as an experienced moderate without gimmicks, who was an early supporter of Clinton's presidential bid. He was a leading contender among several Democrats she reportedly considered for the vice presidential slot.

In introducing the 58-year-old US senator from Virginia on Saturday, Clinton called Kaine "just my kind of guy" and said she could think of no one better for the job.

Kaine's ability to speak Spanish might have been an X-factor, which he gain while taking a year off law school to work with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. His language ability expands the Clinton campaign's ability to reach out to the growing Latino community in the United States.

Kaine grew up in in Kansas City in the Midestern state of Missouri, with his parents and two brothers. He graduated from Harvard Law School and moved to Richmond, capital of Virginia, eventually entering politics there and serving as mayor.

His wife of more than 30 years, Anne, is secretary of education for the state of Virginia. They have three adult children, the oldest of whom is a US Marine who will soon deploy to Europe to work with NATO forces, Kaine said.

A Roman Catholic, Kaine attended a Jesuit boys school where he said his faith "grew into something," and ultimately "became like my North Star - the organizing principle of my life."

Prior to entering politics, he worked for 17 years as a civil rights lawyer representing minorities in discrimination lawsuits against banks, landlords and insurance companies and won some high-profile judgements.

When Kaine debuted with Clinton on the campaign trail Saturday, he said he and Clinton would mount a "strong progressive agenda" that would make the economy work for every American, "not just those at the top."

Kaine's mild-mannered, down-to-earth demeanor could help balance the public perception of Clinton as cool, calculating and privileged. His biography at his Senate website says he loves reading, being outdoors and playing harmonica with bluegrass bands.

His political experience includes a stint as lieutenant governor of Virginia, and he was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009-11. Kaine has built his foreign policy and defence accumen as a member of the Senate's foreign relations and armed services committees.

On domestic issues, tightening gun laws has been one of his passions. He said the worst day of his life was when 32 people were killed by a mentally unstable gunman at a Virginia Tech in April 2007. Governor at the time, Kaine subsequently signed an executive order to close gaps between federal and state gun laws.

A potential weakness could prove to be that as governor and lieutenant governor Kaine accepted gifts totaling more than 160,000 dollars. It was legal in Virginia at the time and he reported it on his financial statements, but Republicans are certain to try to use against him. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump already has labeled him "corrupt Kaine."

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