Rainville wins Republican nomination for U.S. House

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(Host) By a better than 2-1 margin, Martha Rainville won the Republican nomination for the U.S. House in Tuesday’s primary.

Her opponent, Bennington County Senator Mark Shepard, was more than 40 percentage points behind, when he conceded.

VPR’s Susan Keese reports.

(Keese) Rainville was at a potluck open house at her campaign headquarters when Shepard called at about 10 last night.

(Rainville) “He had looked at the numbers, 53% had reported then. He said the numbers weren’t going to significantly change. So he congratulated me and I congratulated him on a race well run.”

(Keese) The former adjutant general of the Vermont National guard said she was a little surprised by the strength of Shepard’s showing.

Rainville had the support of both the state GOP leadership and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Her campaign has raised well over half a million while Shepard’s shoestring effort raised about $75,000.

But Rainville says she’s pleased with her victory and eager to get on with her race against Windsor County senator Peter Welch.

(Rainville) “One of the most important things I can do is get out and talk about the issues with Vermonters in every way that I can.”

Rainville says 13 debates are tentatively scheduled. She says her campaign will work hard in the coming weeks to unify support among Vermont Republicans as well as others who want change.

She may have to do that without Mark Shepard’s help. Shepard says he’ll vote his conscience on November 7th.

(Shepard) “But what I don’t really get into is the concept of endorsing with the mindset that somehow my endorsement means that everybody else who supports me will follow. Each person that supports me they’re very strong thinking individuals… and I won’t do that to those folks.”

(Keese) After several engagements, including a press conference Tuesday, Rainville says she hopes to catch a nap and maybe do some reading on environmental issues.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Susan Keese.

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