One-on-one with Democratic VP nominee Tim Kaine

Tim Kaine speaking in Appleton

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) – Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine tells Wisconsin voters this state is critical for Democrats to take the White House.

The Virginia senator spoke at Warch Campus Center at Lawrence University in Appleton Tuesday afternoon. It’s his first visit to Northeast Wisconsin since accepting the vice presidential nomination.

Speaking before a crowd of several hundred supporters, Kaine touted Hillary Clinton’s record on a number of key issues and promoted early voting with one week to go until election day.

“We’ve got all these offices and staff in Wisconsin, and the more people that vote early, when you get down to election day, all of those great people can really get down and focus their energy and attention not on the entire electorate, but just on those who haven’t voted. So that’s why early vote is important,” he told the crowd.

But afterwards, in a one-on-one interview with Action 2 News, he defended her over an FBI investigation into newly discovered emails that might be linked to her use of a private email server.

“We have no reason to believe that — they should do whatever they want to with these emails obviously, and Hillary has said the same thing. Sure, take a look, but we have no reason to believe they will reach any different conclusion than they reached before, which is to conclusively claim there was no need for additional action by prosecutors.”

The investigation comes as recent polls show the race getting tighter. It’s one reason the Clinton campaign is keeping a close eye on Wisconsin.

Sen. Kaine says it’s a key battleground state.

“We really feel like if we win Wisconsin, that just puts us in a position that’s just difficult for Donald Trump to be successful. We like what we see in polls, but my whole message today, you saw me close, we just can’t take anything for granted.”

If Clinton wins in November, she’ll be representing rival Donald Trump’s supporters as well as her own after this divisive election. How does she deal with that divide?

“That’s a good question,” Kaine says. “Hillary and I will have an obligation to govern for everybody. She talks about this a lot. The central issue we have to tackle is an economy that works for everybody, that’s for Democrats, Republicans and Independents, suburban, urban and rural.”

Sen. Kaine also held a rally in Madison Tuesday evening.

While this is Senator Kaine’s third visit to the state — his first to Northeast Wisconsin — Hillary Clinton has yet to visit since before the April primary, choosing instead to rely on campaign surrogates.