With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump neck-and-neck for the presidency, knowing where their vice presidential nominees stand on certain key choices can certainly sway some to or from a presidential candidate.
Tim Kaine, senator from Virginia, was chosen as Clinton’s running partner in early July 2016. Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, also was picked in early July 2016, as Trump’s running partner.
Peyton Russell, sophomore in biological systems engineering, wishes the media would cover the vice presidential nominees more.
“I don’t even know who the vice presidential nominees are,” Russell said.
Graduating with a bachelor's in economics, Kaine went on to receive his J.D. from Harvard Law in 1983. Since then, Kaine has worked his way up through the government, from mayor to lieutenant governor, then governor to chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He has been a Virginia senator since 2013.
After receiving his bachelor's in history, Pence graduated with his J.D. from the Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 1986. Before becoming the incumbent governor of Indiana, Pence was also a member of the House of Representatives for two different Indiana districts and the chairman of the House Republican Conference.
With their many years of political experience, Kaine and Pence both have developed their views to earn their spots as the vice presidential nominees, even if those views don’t always align with the presidential nominee they’re running with.
For example, Clinton and Kaine fundamentally clash on abortion, which Clinton fully supports. Kaine, however, has stated that he personally opposes the practice because of his faith, but believes government should stay out of it. Pence not only opposes abortion but also has voted to ban federal health coverage that would include abortion.
Trump and Pence don’t always agree, either. Although the two are harmonious in many aspects of immigration policy, Pence tweeted that Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim migration to the United States "offensive and unconstitutional." Kaine strongly favors reforming immigration instead of maintaining xenophobic policies.
As far as civil rights, Kaine has maintained his views on them for several years.
Kaine opposed defining traditional marriage and supported adoption between same-sex couples. In 2013, he voted yes on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and said he believes Obama has fought for equal pay for women. Kaine also offered the first state apology for the involuntary servitude of Africans.
Pence, too, has kept a solid voting record for many years regarding civil rights.
In 2006, Pence voted yes on an amendment banning same-sex marriage and two years later said the Constitution should be amended to define traditional marriage. He wants women to make as much as men, but said the way to close the wage gap is by growing the economy, not a pay equity bill. He has also taken an anti-affirmative action stance.
Neither Kaine nor Pence support decriminalizing marijuana, Kaine supports reducing sentences. They both also recognize that there is a growing drug epidemic in the United States that needs to be confronted.
Kaine, as of 2005, had a proven record of cutting taxes. In 2012, however, he went on record saying he supports increasing tax rates. Pence has longer been against high taxes, voting several times to lower taxes and has spoken in favor of phasing out the "death tax."
Kaine and Pence were both also in favor of sending military forces to fight the Islamic State group. But Kaine called the Iraq War a "wrong choice," while Pence voted yes on it and was in favor of sending more U.S. troops to Iraq in 2007.
Kaine also went back on his gun control stance, going from supporting the Second Amendment in 2005 to favoring restricting it in 2012.
“I have voted for [an assault weapons ban], but I think there’s a better way to go at the problem,” Kaine said, “and that is the limitations on the size of magazines and gun clips.”
Pence said the Second Amendment offers a fundamental right, and owning guns increases public safety. He co-sponsored the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, which would loosen restrictions on interstate gun purchases.
On the environment, Kaine has long said that the United States needs to work to protect it. In 2013, he voted yes on protecting water ecosystems around the country. Pence voted yes on both removing "critical habits" for endangered species and speeding up approval for projects regarding forest thinning.
Both Kaine and Pence are in full support of adoption and foster care, but Kaine has additionally pushed agencies based in faith to let same-sex couples adopt or foster children. They have also both said parents should be able to have an opt-out provision for some vaccines.
“I think this is a matter better left to parents in consultation with their doctors,” Pence said regarding the HPV vaccine.
He said he believes the state does enough by providing information about the vaccine to parents.
Although they are not the faces of the upcoming general election, it’s still important to understand the stances and beliefs of the vice presidential nominees.
As vice president, Kaine or Pence would act as the presiding officer of the Senate as well as give the president advice. In the rare instance of a presidential assassination, death or impeachment, they would become the president.
For voters who are unsure about their feelings toward Clinton and Trump, taking a look at Kaine and Pence could give them a better idea of who to support.