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Clinton rally in Tampa, possible announcement of running mate

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – Hillary Clinton, the presumptive democratic nominee for president, is holding a campaign rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds on Friday.

Clinton could also be announcing her pick for Vice President at the Tampa rally. Earlier Friday, Clinton is scheduled to visit and campaign in Orlando. On Saturday, July 23, Clinton is scheduled to hold a second rally in Miami.

“I can tell you the process will be a lot cleaner and more professional than what we saw on the Republican side,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told News Channel 8. “Certainly this is the biggest media market in the state, it would make a lot of sense that she do it here but you know Miami and Orlando are also on the schedule.”

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine has emerged as the leading contender to be Clinton’s running mate.

The announcement of Clinton’s pick could come as early as Friday afternoon in Florida, a crucial general election battleground state. The timing is aimed at shifting attention away from the end of Donald Trump’s Republican convention and generating excitement before the start of Clinton’s own convention next week in Philadelphia.

Kaine, 58, has been a favorite for the vice presidential slot since the start of Clinton’s search process. He has been active in the Senate on foreign relations and military affairs and built a reputation for working across the aisle as Virginia’s governor and mayor of Richmond.

“I’m glad the waiting game is nearly over,” Kaine told reporters Thursday after an event in northern Virginia, deflecting questions about whether he was about to join the ticket.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a longtime friend of Hillary and Bill Clinton, is still in the mix, according to one of the two Democrats, who is close to the Clintons.

In Tampa and South Florida, Clinton reportedly will discuss her commitment to building an economy that works for all, not just those at the top.

The rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.