Kaine slips out of Newport fundraiser as VP announcement is made

Tim Kaine arrives at Newport Shipyard on Friday, July 22, 2016. (WPRI/ Steph Machado)

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) – Hillary Clinton’s newly named running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, was in Rhode Island Friday for a fundraiser as the world was waiting for Hillary Clinton to announce he was her pick. Those at the event say he slipped away moments before the official announcement was made.

The private campaign event, hosted by Sen. Jack Reed, was held at the Newport shipyard. Both Reed and Kaine didn’t stop to speak to reporters as they drove into the event in separate cars.

“The fact that he came here under the circumstances and fulfilled his commitment says a lot about the man. He’s just a really nice guy,” said Gerry Harrington of Cranston, a Democrat who attended the fundraiser.

Eyewitness News reporter Steph Machado was in Newport all day and she took to Twitter as the events unfolded.

Reed talked to Eyewitness News about Kaine earlier in the day. He and Kaine serve together on the Armed Services Committee.

“Very bright, knowledgeable, he has a background in foreign relations,” Reed said. “He spent his early years overseas as a missionary in some respects, working with groups in Central America.”

Reed left after the fundraiser ended in the same car that Kaine entered in, but Kaine was nowhere to be found as Hillary Clinton announced he would be her running mate.

Multiple people who were in the shipyard told Eyewitness News that Kaine slipped away by boat. While our crew could not see his exit, shipyard employees said if he did not leave through the gate where a dozen local and national reporters were waiting, the only other exit was by sea. Kaine never came through the gate.

“He slipped out the back … when it all ended,” said Michele Beath of Newport, who was inside the shipyard.

Kaine’s next stop after Newport is still a mystery Friday night, but he’s expected in Miami Saturday to begin campaigning with Hillary Clinton.

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