(Host) Heavy rains didn’t deter about 300 people from attending a Rainville for Congress campaign event at the College of Saint Joseph in Rutland on Saturday.
But bad weather did prevent the event’s main attraction, Senator John McCain, from landing at the Rutland airport.
McCain was scheduled to endorse Martha Rainville’s run as Republican candidate for Vermont’s U.S. House seat.
The program of speakers including Governor Jim Douglas and GOP Senate candidate Rich Tarrant- was scrapped and Rainville held an hour-long impromptu question-and-answer session with the audience.
She was peppered with questions about policy issues ranging from lobbying reform to energy to abortion rights and the current crisis in Lebanon.
(Rainville) “Israel is defending itself. Hezbollah has a remarkable number of munitions in its arsenal that directly threaten its neighbors. I’m hopeful that – I’m hoping that the Lebanese government can come out of this as a participant in controlling and bringing down Hezbollah’s capability.”
(Host) Rainville’s campaign says that Senator McCain’s visit to Vermont will be rescheduled.
If Rainville wins her Republican primary race against Mark Shepard, she’ll go on to face Democrat Peter Welch in the general election.
In the days leading up to the campaign stop, U.S. Senate candidate Rich Tarrant had been criticized for inserting himself into another candidate’s event to benefit from McCain’s visit.
At the end of Rainville’s talk on Saturday, Tarrant joked with the audience about that speculation:
(Tarrant) “Absolutely guilty as charged. I will always try to glom on to two people like Martha Rainville and Senator McCain. There are no two better people.”
(Host) Tarrant faces Greg Parke in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat. The winner of that race will face Independent Bernie Sanders in the November election.