Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia speaks during an event near Richmond, Virginia, on December 17, 2022.
CNN  — 

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia announced Friday that he’s running for reelection in 2024.

“I have been really grappling with what to do with respect to my time in the Senate, and I’m very happy to announce that I’m going to run for a third term in the Senate,” he told reporters at an event in Richmond, Virginia.

Kaine’s announcement will likely come as a relief to Democrats as they face a difficult 2024 map and an uphill climb to hold their narrow majority. An open Virginia seat could have made for a competitive race. The Virginia governorship flipped Republican in 2021.

Video from Kaine’s event Friday was provided by CNN affiliate WTVR in Richmond.

Kaine, a former Virginia governor who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in her 2016 presidential campaign, explained his decision on Friday, saying, “Here’s why in conversations with friends and especially with Anne and my family I’ve decided to run for a third term. I’m a servant. I love Virginia. I’m proud of what I’ve done. I got a whole lot more I want to do. So those are the four reasons.”

Kaine was first elected to the US Senate in 2012. During a roundtable discussion Friday before his announcement, he told participants he ran for Senate after 16 years in state and local office because there were issues he wanted to “get done,” including tribal recognition, marriage equality, immigration reform and advances in gun safety.

“We’ve done two of the four,” he said, adding that he thought the time might be ripe to reach a long-sought deal on immigration reform. “My gut tells me, and some of my conversations with colleagues, that the super-low unemployment rate in the country is opening the door again to a really good immigration reform discussion.”

Maggie Abboud, a spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement, “Virginians have shown they’re willing to vote Republican with the right candidate and the right political environment.”

“We’re going to keep a close eye on Virginia and focus on recruiting a strong candidate who can raise the resources necessary to compete,” Abboud said.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.