- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2011

RICHMOND (AP) — Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine told a law school class he’s likely to run for a Senate seat next year, a party spokesman said Monday.

DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse made the announcement on Twitter in response to fragmented initial reports that blindsided Mr. Kaine and Democratic Party advisers.

Mr. Woodhouse tweeted that Mr. Kaine “did not tell law school class he was running, said likely.”

But it’s the most definitive statement yet from Mr. Kaine, a former Virginia governor, that he will try to hold retiring Sen. Jim Webb’s seat for the Democrats in next year’s elections.

Lending more credence to his classroom comments was a DNC statement saying that if Mr. Kaine runs, he would honor his DNC travel and fundraising commitments “at least through the end of the month.”

Mr. Kaine was responding to a question Monday morning from a student at the class he teaches at the University of Richmond.

Word spread quickly after a student phoned news-talk radio station WINA in Charlottesville. The station’s report, pegged to a student identified only as Greg, raced across Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

Mr. Woodhouse’s Twitter posting, around 1:30 p.m., was followed a few minutes later by a DNC statement playing down comments attributed to Mr. Kaine from his class.

“Governor Kaine told his law school class today what is already widely known which is that he is increasingly likely to run,” the statement said.

The statement said no final decision would be made or announced until Mr. Kaine consults once more with President Obama, who appointed him in 2009 to chair the national party, and the people and causes he cares about.

The statement also said Mr. Kaine would have to be assured that DNC’s leadership would not falter should he decide to run. It said Mr. Kaine also would need to be assured of “the support that would be necessary to mount a successful campaign.”

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