Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sen. Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia have emerged as the leading candidates on a longer list of finalists Hillary Clinton is considering for her vice-presidential running mate, according to interviews with multiple Democrats with knowledge of her deliberations.
Although her list is not limited to those two, Clinton has spoken highly of both in recent days to friends and advisers as she closes in on an announcement that could come as soon as Friday.
President Obama is among those who have advised Clinton on her decision, offering thoughts on the two contenders who serve in his Cabinet, Vilsack and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, several Democrats said. These individuals did not say what advice the president gave.
These and other Democrats cautioned that Clinton has not made a final choice and is keeping mum about her deliberations. Several other people remain in the running, they said. Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon declined to comment.
Clinton is expected to campaign alongside her running mate on Friday or Saturday in Florida, three Democrats familiar with aspects of the plan said. The campaign has announced only that she will make stops in several Florida cities over those two days, in the run-up to her party’s national convention. The convention, where Clinton will formally claim the nomination as the first woman to head the ticket of a major U.S. party, begins Monday in Philadelphia.
The vice-presidential search has been conducted in deep secrecy among a small group of Clinton intimates, even as some aspects were on full and intentional display. Clinton did not conceal her consideration of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a liberal firebrand who in turn has not disguised the appeal the job holds for her. Still, Democrats close to both women, including some of Warren’s own advisers, have said Warren was an unlikely choice from the start.