By Graham Moomaw, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart said Monday that the 11th-hour revelation of a sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is "a bunch of crap" and part of a Democratic attempt to derail Kavanaugh's nomination.
"I think it's a bunch of crap," Stewart, the chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, said in a phone interview Monday morning. "I really question the timing. The Democrats... Dianne Feinstein apparently sat on this for weeks," he said of the California senator. "This is just an intentional attempt to postpone the nomination until after the midterm elections."
Stewart, who is running against Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said he was not questioning the allegation made by Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party more than 30 years ago when the two were high school students in Montgomery County, Md. But Stewart said the timing of the allegation, coming just before an expected Senate vote to confirm Kavanaugh, suggests it's a "Democratic smear tactic."
"She should have come out with this years ago," Stewart said, echoing his 2017 defense of Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faced allegations of seeking sexual relationships with teenage girls while in his 30s. Moore denied the allegations, but went on to lose what had been considered a safe Republican seat.
On Sunday, the Washington Post published the first on-the-record interview with Ford, whose story has cast a sudden cloud of uncertainty over Kavanaugh's confirmation. In the interview, Ford said she was hesitant to go public with her story for fear of retaliation, but decided to speak on the record out of "civic responsibility."
Kavanaugh has denied the allegation, calling it "completely false" and saying he's willing to discuss the matter with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh, currently a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington, to replace former Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired effective July 31.
Kaine has called for the Kavanaugh confirmation vote, which could take place later this week, to be delayed so that Ford's allegation can be looked into.
"We in the Senate owe it to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to consider her serious charge as we dutifully examine Judge Kavanaugh," Kaine said in a statement Sunday. "The Judiciary Committee should not vote on his nomination until this allegation is fully investigated."
The broad contours of Ford's story emerged last week after Feinstein said she had given the FBI a letter Ford shared with members of the California congressional delegation earlier this summer. The letter was dated July 30.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., also called for Kavanaugh's confirmation vote to be put off.
"There should be a full investigation, and Professor Ford deserves to be heard," Warner said. "This is a serious allegation, and we have a responsibility to listen."
Two retiring Republicans - Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Bob Corker, R- Tenn. - have also called for the Kavanaugh confirmation to be delayed.