A lot of buzz has surrounded Senator Tim Kaine as a potential Vice Presidential pick for Hillary Clinton. He has substantial political experience, deep knowledge of foreign policy, and comes from Virginia, a crucial swing state. He would be a relatively safe, no-risk choice for the Clinton camp, except for one key issue: abortion.
As the fervor over Clinton's running mate selection ramps up before the convention, Kaine has come under fire from Democrats for his muddled stance on abortion. During his gubernatorial run in 2005, he pledged to reduce abortions statewide through promotion of adoption and abstinence education, and has cited his Catholicism as the reason for his personal opposition to abortion. However, over the last few years as a Senator, he has advocated for pro-choice policies and publicly supported the recent Supreme Court decision against a Texas law that restricted access to abortion clinics.
How do abortion rights groups feel about Tim Kaine? Compared to other potential Democratic VP picks, Kaine has received significantly less money from pro-choice organizations such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Tim Kaine has received only $845 from abortion rights groups over his whole political career -- all from a Planned Parenthood Action Fund donation to his 2012 Senate campaign. In comparison, Sen. Sherrod Brown has received $73,565 from pro-choice groups.
When looking at these abortion rights donations as a percentage of candidates' total campaign contributions, Kaine still receives a substantially smaller proportion from pro-choice organizations.
When you account for the sheer amount of money that federal candidates receive over their careers, it is expected that donations from pro-choice organizations would not constitute a very large amount of their total contributions received. For example, consistently pro-choice Democrats such as Sen. Sherrod Brown and Sen. Elizabeth Warren have still only received 0.23% and 0.14% of their overall campaign contributions from abortion rights groups, respectively.
But Kaine's percentage of donations from pro-choice groups is considerably smaller than these other potential VP picks, clocking in at a measly 0.002%. And although he has come to be known as the "safe choice" for Hillary Clinton, she will have to consider the possible ramifications of selecting a running mate with a conflicting record on abortion.