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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Poor Rich

Hard to fathom how Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, somehow managed to overlook Rich Tarrant's Senate primary victory this week when he issued a statement congratulating Martha Rainville's House primary win.

Or that Tarrant would not get a mention in the invite for this Sunday's party fundraiser with Arizona Sen. John McCain. You'd think the $5.2 million that Tarrant has invested in trying to prevent Bernie Sanders from becoming a senator would at least earn him some Republican leadership love.

And here's yet another Tarrant snub. This summer, the state party put out a brochure trumpeting "Vermont's Reform Team." You could have picked one up at the Champlain Valley Fair if you had stopped by the GOP booth.

One the cover of the brochure are the smiling faces of Gov. Jim Douglas, Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, state Auditor Randy Brock, Rainville and Cheryl Moomey, the party's Secretary of State nominee. Inside are bios of these folks and an invitation to Vermonters to "join" the Reform Team. No where in the glossy brochure is there a mention or a photo of Tarrant.

The excuse for all of this, as it's always been, is that Tarrant has asked the national GOPers to "stay out" of the race. If we're to believe that, then why did Tarrant show up at a GOP unity event in Montpelier on Wednesday?

-- Sam Hemingway

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Anon --

If Tarrant can't can't run a campaign team, what sort of political leader is he?

Not a very good one.
Great questions, Sam...

Thanks for asking them...
Rich can ask the national GOPers to stay out of the race and still show unity with the GOP - there's nothing incongruous with that. He simply doesn't want the national GOP spending money on his campaign - which, in the long run, is why he's a good choice for Senator - he won't be beholden to the national party once elected. I do think it's pretty rotten of the national party not to make at least mention of Tarrant, but in my mind, it's because they know if Tarrant gets elected it will be because of his own drive, and not because of the national party.
or it's because they want to distance themselves from the train wreck campaign of Richie Rich.
ding ding ding

we have a winner!!
My wife's daughter is her mother.
This whole thing is part of an organized plan to cast Tarrant as independent. After McCain visits here, The American Research Group will announce the results of their latest rigged poll. It will show Tarrant trailing Bernie by single digits, with growing support from independents. It will also show Rainville ahead of Welch. Of cousre it will show McCain with an insurmountable lead.
The National and Vermont GOP is not interested in seeing Tarrant run a competitive race. If Tarrant gets close to Sanders, the Sanders campaign will kick it up a notch and bring more voters to the polls, thereby hurting Rainville's chances. This was the old Vermont Dem strategy - run weak candidates against Aiken to keep him quiet and in Washington so as to not hurt Hoff.
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