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Courtesy of US Senate Historical Office

Democratic U.S. Senator Tim Kaine says he is stunned by the loss of former Virginia Republican U.S. Senator John Warner, who died last night at the age of 94. Kaine says Warner and his father-law, Linwood Holton built the Virginia Republican Party from irrelevance into a formidable force, competed against one another in the 1978 Virginia Senate race, and always found time for new projects and humorous reminiscence.

(The full statement from U.S. Senator Tim Kaine’s office can be read below:)

WASHINGTON, D.C. —U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement today on the passing of former U.S. Senator John Warner:

“I am stunned at the loss of John Warner. Virginia has lost an unmatched leader, and my family has lost a dear friend.

“John Warner and my father-in-law, Linwood Holton, interrupted their college studies to join the Navy during World War II. Each served in the Pacific theatre, and they met when they returned to Washington and Lee at the close of the war. Their fraternity brother days started a friendship that lasted 75 years. Lin and John worked together, built the Virginia Republican Party from irrelevance into a formidable force, competed against one another in the 1978 Virginia Senate race, and always found time for new projects and humorous reminiscence.

“When I married Anne in 1984, I entered the large circle of John’s friends. From his thirty-year post in the Senate, he helped me as Mayor and Governor again and again. In particular, I will never forget his advocacy that helped save the Metro Silver Line from the brink of extinction. His advice on matters large and small (mostly solicited but occasionally offered even though I hadn’t asked!) was always farsighted, patriotic, and delivered in pithy and memorable phrases.

“Once I came to the Senate, I understood even more deeply the influence of John Warner. I came to know John McCain, Carl Levin, and so many others who served with him and attested to his integrity and outsized influence in a body he loved so dearly. In particular, John’s service in the Navy during World War II, as a Marine during the Korean War, and as Secretary of the Navy, made him a steady hand as Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. And in this new chapter in my life, John’s advice again became essential.

“I consider it a deep honor to represent Virginia on the Armed Services Committee as John did, and I often think of him during Armed Services deliberations, wondering how he would handle the dilemmas of the day. Shortly after I was elected to my first term, I asked John to lunch in the Senate Dining Room. He hadn’t been in many years. When he walked into the room, the place absolutely lit up, and a steady stream of Senators and Senate staff made a path to the table to visit with a person they loved so much.

“John and I once talked about how the Senate of today was more partisan and less relationship-based than during his years of service. But at the end of our conversation, he told me: ‘But Tim, it’s not in the water supply or sick building syndrome. It’s in the character and priorities of the people who walk into the building every day. So you have a chance to walk into the Capitol and make it better each day.’

“Not having John Warner to go to for advice leaves a big hole in my life. But we can all celebrate a public servant who stood on principle, made us proud, and exemplified the best of what politics can be.

“My condolences go out to Jeanne and the entire Warner family.”