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Kaine makes his Senate bid official

From NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro
One day after President Obama announced his re-election bid, current DNC Chairman (and former Virginia Gov.) Tim Kaine has officially declared he's running for the open Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Webb (D).

In a video on his campaign Web site, Kaine -- wearing a plaid shirt and sitting on wooden steps -- harkens back to his days as Richmond mayor, city council member, and governor. He makes no mention, however, of being Obama’s DNC chairman. There are no images or mention of the president, either.

He even takes a shot at Washington. Virginia, he said, has a “tradition of balance and civility that is sadly disappearing from Washington... I know that Washington can learn a few things from Virginia.”

Kaine's entry in the race represents the Democrats' biggest recruiting victory of the 2012 cycle, and he gives the Democrats, at worst, a 50%-50% chance of keeping Webb's seat.

His entry also potentially sets up an enticing general election against former GOP Virginia Sen. (and former Gov.) George Allen.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee issued this statement in response to Kaine getting into the race: “Over the last several years, Tim Kaine has been the most vocal cheerleader in Washington for the reckless fiscal policies and massive expansion of government that have been the hallmark of the Obama Administration.  And now Tim Kaine is staking his election hopes on this costly partisan agenda that has failed to create new jobs while driving our national debt past $14 trillion

An unanswered question: Who replaces Kaine as DNC chairman? Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and current Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz are two names who have been mentioned for the post.