Republicans say Rainville to announce candidacy

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(Host) Vermont Republicans say Adjutant General Martha Rainville will announce her candidacy for the U.S. House next week.

Rainville will step down from her position in the National Guard once the legislature picks a replacement.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel has the story.

(Kinzel) For the past six months, Rainville has been considering a possible run for Vermont’s vacant U.S. House seat.

She formed an exploratory committee and raised more than $100,000.

During this period she’s remained as the head of the Vermont National Guard and has refused to answer questions from the press about any specific issues by saying she isn’t a formal candidate.

Middlebury college political science professor Eric Davis says no one in Vermont has ever raised this much money in an exploratory campaign.

(Davis) “Certainly General Rainville’s financial reports that she filed with the FEC look very much like an active candidate’s reports rather than someone who’s merely testing the waters.”

(Kinzel) Davis says he expects that a reasonable budget for this race will be around a million and a half dollars.

He notes that Democrat Peter Welch has already raised close to $500,000. Davis says this means Rainville will need to rely on PAC groups and contributions from the Republican Party.

(Davis) “Looking at the financial statements so far, what I would say, is that General Rainville is going to have to rely quite heavily on large contributions from political party committees and interest group committees in Washington to make up the gap between where she is right now and where Peter Welch is right now.”

(Kinzel) Davis notes that candidates have already held debates for this office and he says Rainville’s absence is notable:

(Davis) “One of the functions that a campaign serves is to educate the voters about candidate’s views on important issues. There are certainly those issues out there this year, and Peter Welch is talking about them on the Democratic side and Mark Shepard is talking about them on the Republican side and I would say voters deserve to know what Martha Rainville’s views on these issues are.”

(Kinzel) Rainville says she’s made a final decision about her entry into this race but she wants to wait to make a formal announcement:

(Rainville) “I’ve reached a decision personally and I’ve talked with my family and my close friends and advisors on this.”

(Kinzel) Rainville says she’s concluded that she cannot become a full time candidate and remain as the head of the Guard.

(Rainville) “I think the Guard needs a leader that can devote a 100% of their time to the Guard. It’s a very busy time. We’ve gotten a lot of soldiers back, thank goodness but we still have soldiers abroad. So I think realistically at some point in the campaign I would need to be full time in the campaign. And that would mean I would need to step aside.”

(Kinzel) Rainville is expected to make her announcement in several parts of the state next week.

For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

(Host) Martha Rainville is expected to face Bennington County senator Mark Shepard in the September primary.

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