Government & Politics

Rockhurst High School alumnus and Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine stops in KC

Sen. Tim Kaine (right), the Democratic nominee for vice president, on Wednesday returned to Kansas City, where he grew up, to attend a fundraiser for the campaign and the Missouri Democratic Party. He joined his parents, Kathleen and Al Kaine, for dinner at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue.
Sen. Tim Kaine (right), the Democratic nominee for vice president, on Wednesday returned to Kansas City, where he grew up, to attend a fundraiser for the campaign and the Missouri Democratic Party. He joined his parents, Kathleen and Al Kaine, for dinner at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue. jsleezer@kcstar.com

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine enjoyed familiar faces and familiar food Wednesday in his first visit to his hometown since winning his party’s nomination.

Kaine — joined by his parents, Al and Kathleen — sat down for a plate of treats at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday. Four other relatives, including two children, also enjoyed dinner with the Virginia senator.

Kaine grew up in Overland Park, and his parents still live in the Kansas City area.

The meal marked the end of a busy and potentially belly-busting day for the candidate. Kaine started Wednesday in Iowa, where he munched on pork at the state fair while chatting with that state’s voters.

But he apparently couldn’t pass up a chance at a Kansas City classic at dinnertime. “When we’re here, we eat very well,” Kaine told a reporter as he was seated.

Hillary Clinton's choice of running mate grew up in Overland Park before launching a political career in Virginia. His parents and brothers still live here.

Kaine landed at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. He traveled by motorcade to the midtown home of Marny and John Sherman, where he met with donors who contributed to the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint committee that provides money for the presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state Democratic parties.

A Hillary Clinton campaign official said Kaine criticized Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the closed event. Kaine called Trump dangerous and divisive, the campaign said.

Roughly 250 people attended the fundraiser. Tickets began at $1,000.

Kaine did not schedule any public political events during his visit. His dinner trip to the restaurant in the Freight House district wasn’t publicized in advance, and his appearance seemed to surprise many of the customers eating dinner there.

He shook hands with a few patrons before taking his seat. Reporters and photographers were shooed out of the restaurant about five minutes after Kaine entered.

It isn’t clear if Kaine’s brief visit reflects a belief that Missouri will be competitive in 2016 on the presidential level. A poll released Wednesday showed Trump leading Clinton in the state by three points; in 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney won the state more than a nine-point margin.

Dave Helling: 816-234-4656, @dhellingkc

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