Sen.-elect Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.) has a new Republican BFF: fellow freshman Ted Cruz of Texas.

Timothy M. Kaine (Steve Helber/Associated Press)

Kaine, who was elected last month and will be sworn in on Jan. 3, campaigned on a message of unity and said he would seek to restore a spirit of compromise and common ground in Congress. On Thursday, he said he hoped he and the 11 other newcomers to the Senate would “bring a breath of fresh air” to the chamber.

During orientation last month, Kaine said there were some “discouraging sessions,” but also some hopeful examples of veteran senators working together.

“There are windows that are open,” Kaine said.

Kaine said he is also encouraged by the return of Sen. Mark Warner, who announced last month that he would remain in the Senate and not run for governor of Virginia next year.

“I told him, ‘No one else is doing what you’re doing,’” Kaine said when asked about his pitch to his senior colleague.

Warner is a member of the Gang of Six, tasked with hammering out the fiscal deal. Kaine has said he looks forward to joining that coalition.

Meanwhile, Kaine is awaiting his committee assignments — which could come “ASAP or on Jan. 2,” he said. He has asked to join Armed Services, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Foreign Relations and Small Business and Entrepreneurship — in that order.