“We have to be at the table to make sure it’s done right, that it’s done fairly,” Tim Kaine says. | AP Photo
Sen. Tim Kaine said Thursday morning that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign felt compelled to take part in the recount efforts launched by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, even though “we’re very doubtful that the outcome is going to change.”
“The Clinton team looked at the votes and looked at recount and we’re not going to pursue it. But when Jill Stein, one of the third party candidates, decided to do it — if there’s going to be a recount we have to be at the table to make sure it’s done right, that it’s done fairly,” Kaine (D-Va.) told Washington, D.C. Fox affiliate WTTG-TV in a live interview Thursday morning.
The former Democratic vice presidential candidate noted that the presidential campaign had been marred by allegations of hacking by the Russian government into state boards of elections and that it’s important to put to bed the concerns of Americans worried about outside influence on the U.S. political process. He said that while he and others on Clinton’s team did not expect the recount to yield a change in the election’s outcome, “people are entitled to know that the results are results that they can trust and that they can count on.”
On election night, Kaine said he attempted not to get his hopes up but was nonetheless optimistic when he learned early-on in the evening that Clinton would win his home state of Virginia, a key battleground, by a margin larger than President Barack Obama did. But as more returns rolled in and it became apparent that Clinton had lost most other swing states, his spirits dampened.
“I started to get in a good mood, but that was at 7:45,” Kaine said as he described watching Virginia land in Clinton’s column. “And by 9:30 it was like, ‘Just because Virginia is doing better that doesn’t mean other states are.'”
He said he was heartened by the fact that Clinton had won his home state and had won the popular vote, even though both victories ultimately proved meaningless in the Electoral College. As he has in past interviews, he said he has no interest in running for president in 2020 but will run for reelection to his Senate seat in 2018. With a nationwide profile and Republicans likely to mount a serious challenge to unseat him, Kaine said he expects that race to be the most challenging of his career.
“I have been a very happy senator,” Kaine said. “I’m back a little sadder, a little wiser but incredibly energized.”