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ELECTION 2014: Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine to headline SC Democratic dinner

03/14/2014 9:35 AM

03/14/2014 9:46 AM

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia will be the S.C. Democratic Party's 2014 Jefferson Jackson dinner keynote speaker.

Kaine, a former Virginia governor, will speak at the May 2 fundraiser in the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center that will honor former Gov. and U.S. education secretary Dick Riley, the party said. Tickets cost $125-$175.

Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a 2016 presidential run, spoke at the dinner last year. Kaine is considered a possible vice presidential choice by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if she runs. South Carolina remains an early presidential primary state.

The Jefferson Jackson dinner also kicks off the party's annual Dem Weekend, which will be themed "When Governors Govern."

State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, is expected to challenge Republican governor Nikki Haley in a rematch in November.

"On a weekend when we'll be focused on how the work of a new governor in South Carolina could move our state forward, we could not have a better example than the former governor of Virginia, Senator Tim Kaine," state party chairman Jaime Harrison said in a letter to supporters. It's the difference in leadership that put Virginia at the top of all the good lists under Tim Kaine while South Carolina remains stuck at the bottom of those same lists under Nikki Haley."

The S.C. GOP has not announced a speaker for its Silver Elephant dinner that drew U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a potential 2016 White House candidate, last year.

State Republicans reportedly are looking at holding the fundraiser in the summer after the June primary. That could open the spot to more possible speakers during a period when legislative sessions slow.

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A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to Follow The Buzz @buzzatthestate. Follow Cassie @cassielcope. Follow Jamie @jamiemself. Follow Andy @andyshain.

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