|GOP U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart with supporters.|
The base of the Republican Party of Virginia has shown to the world just how insane it has become as neo-Confederate Corey Stewart defeats the "GOP establishment" candidate Nick Freitas in the Virginia Republican U.S. Senate primary . One can only assume that Tim Kaine and Democrats are celebrating the Virginia GOP's selection of a true extremist as Tim Kaine's challenger in November. Time and time again the delusional far right base of the GOP whines that the GOP loses elections by nominating "moderates" as its candidates. If Stewart goes down to a devastating defeat, perhaps this myth will be put to rest once and for all at least in Virginia. Last year when Stewart almost defeated GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie for the nomination, he rain on a platform that included tax cuts for the very wealthy and a quasi-return to the Jim Crow laws. Stewart is also a devoted supporter of Donald Trump who remains highly unpopular in Virginia. The Washington Post looks at this blow to the credibility of the Virginia GOP. Here are highlights:
Corey Stewart, the Prince William County executive who shocked the GOP a year ago by nearly winning their party’s nomination for governor, won the Republican primary for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Tim Kaine.
Stewart was running against Nick Freitas, a state delete and military veteran, and pastor E.W. Jackson, who five years ago shocked them by upsetting better-known (and less controversial) candidates to become their nominee for lieutenant governor.
Kaine has stocked more than $10 million for a race that rarely appears on GOP midterm maps.
The Virginian Pilot has more extensive coverage. Here are excerpts:
A conservative provocateur and supporter of President Donald Trump won Virginia's Republican primary Tuesday in the U.S. Senate race, and he has promised to run a "vicious" campaign against incumbent Tim Kaine.Republican Corey Stewart beat state lawmaker Nick Freitas and Chesapeake minister E.W. Jackson. Stewart had long been on the fringe of the state's GOP; now the win makes him the standard-bearer of a deeply divided party that hasn't won a statewide race in nearly a decade.
A one-time state chairman of President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, Stewart nearly won the 2017 Republican nomination for governor, despite being heavily outspent.
The Prince William County Board of Supervisors chairman and attorney has courted controversy throughout his political career. He was fired from the Trump campaign after staging an unsanctioned protest at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee, which Stewart said wasn't sufficiently loyal to Trump during the presidential campaign.
Stewart campaigned heavily last year on preserving Virginia's Confederate monuments and is an immigrant hard-liner who boasts of the number of immigrants in the country illegally who have been deported from his county.
Several higher-profile Republicans floated the possibility of running against Kaine, but they did not follow through after Democrats scored huge victories in November in state-level elections. That left establishment Republicans to rally behind Freitas, a libertarian-leaning former Green Beret and two-term state House delegate.
Freitas largely ignored Stewart until the campaign's final days, when he criticized him for associating in the past with racists, including Paul Nehlen, a Republican challenger to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan who has been suspended from Twitter after a series of racist and anti-Semitic posts.
None of the candidates raised much money, though Freitas was helped by large last-minute spending from a super PAC aligned with U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and the tea party group Americans for Prosperity.
Stewart embodies what the Republican Party has become: racist, isolationist, and extreme. It is noteworthy that Stewart last almost all of the so-called urban crescent which is a key to carrying Virginia statewide. Hopefully, he will suffer a crushing defeat that will make Ed Gillespie's loss in 2017 pale in comparison.