Mary Kathleen Burns Is Tim Kaine's Mother

by Abby Johnston

There's only one chance for the vice presidential candidates to show audiences what they've got, and that's at the Oct. 4 vice presidential debate. Getting to know the people who could potentially be second in command of, you know, the country is a pretty big deal. So undoubtedly, the vice presidential candidates will want to surround themselves with the people who love them. One of those people is Tim Kaine's mother. Will Mary Kathleen Burns be at the vice presidential debate?

We don't know a lot about Burns, because she seems to lead a pretty quiet existence. Burns was a home economics teacher in Kansas City, and she met Kaine's father, Al, when they were both students at Kansas State. Eventually, they raised three boys together, one of whom is now a vice presidential candidate.

Kaine's mother hasn't been very vocal during the campaign. We've definitely started hearing about his wife, but not so much about the other woman in his life. So we don't know a lot about Burns, or whether she will be at the debate. But I'm sure she's very proud of her son! After all, he's friends with Hillary Clinton. (Or at least, presumably they are friends. That hasn't actually been confirmed. But how could you not be friends with Tim Kaine?)

Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

There haven't been a lot of mothers on the campaign trail in 2016. Clinton's mother, Dorothy Howell Rodham, passed away in 2011, and Donald Trump's mother, Mary Anne Trump, died in 2000. Mike Pence, Trump's vice presidential candidate, still has his mother, Nancy, though she's been similarly quiet during the election cycle.

The most memorable campaign mom in 2016 has been Ted Cruz's mother, Eleanor Darragh, who was present at several of his events, including the night he won the Texas primary. She also sat down to speak at an event with Carly Fiorina — Cruz's short-lived vice presidential candidate — and his wife Heidi. The three made the case for Cruz before women voters, and Cruz has previously called his mother his "best friend [for his] entire life," which is completely adorable.

So it's unclear whether Mary Kathleen is going to turn up at the debate to support her son, though I'm sure she will be there if it's at all possible. But if she doesn't make it there, Kaine definitely won't be the only person on the person on the campaign trail who won't have a mom present. But they'll be there in spirit, I'm sure.