- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bill Clinton isn’t the only spouse taking center stage for the Democratic presidential ticket.

Anne Holton, the wife of Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, has kept up a whirlwind pace on the campaign trail over the past six weeks, venturing far beyond her native Virginia and into key swing states such as Colorado, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

On Thursday she headlined four events in Ohio, and she’s held more than a dozen so far this month, in addition to joint appearances alongside Mr. Kaine, the Democrats’ vice-presidential pick.

The daughter of former Virginia Gov. Linwood Holton, an accomplished Harvard and Princeton-educated attorney and the commonwealth’s former secretary of education, Ms. Holton is proving herself to be an invaluable asset for Democrats as the November election draws closer.

Political specialists say her combination of policy knowledge and likability — along with a deep familiarity with politics going back to her childhood — make her an especially important surrogate for the Clinton-Kaine team.



Anne Holton is the perfect political spouse, not because she can gaze up at her husband in an adoring way but because she is a superb campaigner on her own,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “She has given hundreds of speeches over the years And she is Kaine’s intellectual equal, both Harvard Law grads, and on the same page politically with Kaine on the big issues.”


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Ms. Holton resigned as Virginia’s secretary of education over the summer after Mrs. Clinton tapped Mr. Kaine to be her No. 2, ending the most recent assignment in a lengthy resume.

While her husband served as Virginia governor from 2006 to 2010, Ms. Holton led an overhaul of the state’s foster-care system, and after leaving the governor’s mansion, she continued her work on foster care issues in the private sector.

She also served as a juvenile and domestic relations judge in Virginia.

Her work on behalf of the Democratic presidential campaign began almost immediately after Mr. Kaine’s selection. After the Democratic convention in late July, Ms. Holton joined her husband, along with Mr. and Mrs. Clinton, for a bus tour through Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Since then, she’s proven effective at delivering an engaging stump speech while also sticking to the campaign’s talking points — a necessary quality when part of a scripted, tightly controlled political operation like that of Mrs. Clinton.

“Hillary fundamentally understands and is focused on the most important issue, I think, for Americans right now,” Ms. Holton said during a campaign stop in North Carolina, repeating a common theme for Democrats this election cycle. “And that is, ‘how can we get the economy working so that works for everyone, not just those at the top?’”

The Holton family’s history of working toward racial equality, specialists say, also could appeal to black voters. Her father, who served from 1970 to 1974 and was the first Republican to occupy the governor’s mansion in Richmond since Reconstruction, wholeheartedly embraced racial integration in the state’s public schools, a highly divisive issue at the time.

“She went to public schools in Richmond when public school desegregation was controversial,” said Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond Law School who taught alongside Mr. Kaine. “Holton, like Tim Kaine, is very intelligent, perceptive, articulate, down to earth and funny and is someone with whom everyone is comfortable.”

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