Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine flashed a grin and gave a big thumbs up when cheers broke out as he walked into a Dallas restaurant Wednesday afternoon.
Fresh from two fundraisers — one each in Fort Worth Dallas — he started shaking hands and posing for pictures with people gathered for lunch at Gloria’s Salvadoran restaurant in the Bishop Arts District south of downtown Dallas.
“Thank you for what you do,” he told a group of volunteers and precinct chairs.
Wednesday was the first time for many North Texans to meet Kaine, the Virginia senator fluent in Spanish who was chosen as the vice presidential candidate by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“I’m thrilled,” said Kris Farrell of Duncanville about getting to meet Kaine. “I’d love to see them [Kaine and Clinton] here a lot more often.”
And she hopes that maybe this year’s presidential campaign can help Democrats in Texas, a longtime reliably red state.
“I think [Texas] could go purple,” she said. “But I’d love for it to be blue.”
Republicans have been critical of Kaine’s quick trip through Texas, which also included events in Austin on Tuesday night.
“After the campaign spent the weekend spinning Hillary Clinton’s own lies about her secret email sever, Tim Kaine is back on the road trying to sell his dishonest and untrustworthy running mate,” said Natalie Strom, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.
“He’ll have a tough time convincing Texans that they should support a candidate who had no trouble putting our national security at risk and repeatedly lying about it to the American people.”
Fort Worth event
Earlier in the day, Kaine attended a reception at the home of Marilyn and Marty Englander in west Fort Worth.
Guests began arriving in the quiet, tree-lined neighborhod around 9 a.m. and were greeted with a selection of food that included coffee cake, pumpkin bread, quiche and a variety of fruit.
A valet stand was set up to park visitors’ vehicles. Visitors went through security before entering the home.
Several Trump yard signs were displayed at homes not far from the Englanders’.
Englander is CEO and director of Englander dZignPak Llc., a Waco-based private company.
There were no cheap seats at this private event, with tickets ranging from $2,700 to $50,000, to raise money for the “Hillary Victory Fund.”
About 50 people attended the event.
“It was really exciting to have Tim Kaine in Fort Worth,” said Jason Smith, a Fort Worth attorney who served as a Clinton delegate at the Democratic National Convention this year. “He had a lot of energy and you could feel the momentum coming from the convention.
“He didn’t talk about Texas being a battleground state,” he said. “But he did talk about how Virginia and Texas are similar and Virginia changed over a short period of time. He thinks Texas could, too.”