June 20, 2018 Press Releases and Announcements

VA GOP in Chaos as Corey Stewart Weighs Down Ticket

by DPVA Press Office

How Corey Stewart Could Endanger Other Virginia Republicans (New York Times)

“For the G.O.P. candidates in the down-ballot House races in Virginia, having Stewart on the ticket is going to be a very tough challenge,” said Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. “Somehow they will need to separate themselves from the more extreme elements of his message, while at the same time not alienating the Trump Republicans whose votes will be needed.”

Virginia Democrats quickly moved to join Mr. Stewart at the hip to other Republicans in competitive House races.

“There is no place to hide — you are either running with Corey Stewart and you condone his vile politics, or you don’t,” said Susan Swecker, the state Democratic chairwoman.

Kaine says he's eager to take on Stewart. GOP members of Congress are silent. (Richmond Times Dispatch)

The Richmond Times-Dispatch posed questions about Stewart Wednesday to the campaigns of U.S. Reps. Barbara Comstock, R-10th, Dave Brat, R-7th, Scott Taylor, R-2nd, Rob Wittman, R-1st, and GOP congressional candidates Denver Riggleman in the 5th district and Del. Ben Cline in the 6th, all of whom will be on the ballot this November with Stewart at the top of the ticket.

None of them answered.

Stewart is controversial, lends full-throated support to Trump, and these candidates might fear he would be a drag on their chances.

Corey Stewart’s Senate nomination could reverberate down the ballot in Virginia (Washington Post)

“It’s been nine years since Republicans won a statewide election in Virginia, and at this rate, it may be a while longer,” said David Wasserman, a House analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “I will also say that Stewart’s nomination could threaten Republican prospects down ballot, particularly in suburban House seats.”

GOP frets Virginia Senate candidate may impact House races (AP News)

Virginia Republicans have nominated a polarizing candidate known for taking personal potshots at his opponents and agitating aggressively for the preservation of Confederate monuments — a pick that ultimately could have a ripple effect on which party controls Congress after the November midterm elections.

Virginia Republicans are quietly worried — and Democrats openly hopeful — that the fallout could reach to a handful of competitive House districts.

The dynamics are uncomfortable enough that national Republicans have been mum about how much support — if any — they’ll extend to Stewart. “We have a big map ... and I don’t see Virginia in it,” Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, chairman of Senate Republicans’ national campaign operation, told CNN.

How Corey Stewart is dividing Republicans already (CNN)

The new Republican nominee for a US Senate seat in Virginia has already caused a great divide within his party in Washington.

Fewer than 24 hours after Corey Stewart's win Tuesday night, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to endorse his former Virginia campaign chair.

But congressional Republicans are cool to the campaign of the man who has embraced the commonwealth's Confederate past.

Virginia GOP worries Senate nominee Corey Stewart could drag down House members (Yahoo News)

The morning after Corey Stewart’s victory in the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Virginia, party officials assessed how their candidate might affect House races in November. They didn’t like what they saw.

Republicans hold 7 of the commonwealth’s 11 seats. Stewart’s win is believed to endanger at least three of them – Barbara Comstock in northern Virginia, Dave Brat in and around Richmond and Denver Riggleman in a large district in southwest Virginia that includes Charlottesville.

Republicans poised to follow Trump into oblivion in Virginia (Washington Post)

The destruction of the Republican Party in my home state of Virginia is well underway. Corey Stewart, who barely lost in last year’s gubernatorial primary to Ed Gillespie, on Tuesday won the GOP nomination for Senate and will face Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) in November. Stewart will carry his pro-Confederate-flag, anti-immigrant, pro-Trump message into the general election in a state that elected Democrats for all statewide offices and flipped 15 House of Delegate seats in 2017.

Republicans rightly fear a weak candidate at the top of the ticket will make matters even worse for already vulnerable down-ticket Republicans such as Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) in the 10th Congressional District. Comstock had a disappointing primary, winning with about 60 percent of the vote against a hard-core Trumper challenging her conservative credentials.

Trumpism's Win May Be the GOP's Loss in Virginia (The Atlantic)

On Tuesday night, at the same time Stewart and his supporters were celebrating under the glow of multicolored string lights, former Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling tweeted: “I am extremely disappointed that a candidate like Corey Stewart could win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. This is clearly not the Republican Party I once knew, loved and proudly served.”

The results of Tuesday’s primary are further evidence that Virginia’s Republican Party is in the throes of change. Larry J. Sabato, the founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said that Stewart’s successful campaign makes sense because many of the loudest voices in the state’s Republican Party are ‘avid’ Trump supporters. “As Virginia has turned blue, the state Republican Party has turned scarlet red,” he wrote in an email Tuesday night.

The Virginia GOP’s death march (Washington Post)

There’s anecdotal evidence Stewart’s win has already begun hollowing out the GOP. UVA’s Larry Sabato tweeted: “Longtime major GOP donors and campaign workers in VA have told me last night and today that with Corey Stewart’s nomination, they are “done” with the party. Last straw, they say. Hard to know how widespread this is, but it’s not good news for Republicans.

This time, though, the operatives and moneymen are serious. Stewart is a rebel flag-draped bridge too far. Better to walk away and not look back.

Virginia Republicans just nominated an alt-right hero to run for Senate (Vox)

Stewart’s victory in Virginia may throw the GOP’s chances in House races further down the ballot under the bus. Cook Political Report editor Dave Wasserman tweeted that because of Stewart’s win, the GOP is unlikely to hold seats in four Virginia districts. (Reportedly, the National Republican Senatorial Committee may not endorse Stewart.)

Trump just endorsed an apologist for white supremacy. That could hurt the GOP this fall. (Washington Post)

“This latest recruitment failure immediately becomes a massive headache for the NRSC and the national Republican Party,” David Bergstein, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, emailed me this morning. “They’ll have to decide the extent to which they will back him, even symbolically, and elevate him even further as a part of the Republican Party brand.”

But Republicans probably cannot avoid a renewed national discussion of what it means for their party that an apologist for white supremacy will now be their standard-bearer in a state that is already trending blue faster than it otherwise might because of demographic changes causing it to recoil violently from Trumpism, and what it means that the Republican president so enthusiastically endorsed him.

Senate GOP shuns Stewart in Virginia (Politico)

The Senate GOP's campaign arm hasn't endorsed Stewart, who has made defending Confederate monuments a central plank of his political career.

Democrats, meanwhile, were ebullient that the GOP had nominated Stewart, who wants to protect Confederate monuments nationwide and like Trump, is focused on cracking down on illegal immigration.

“It's going to be a real choice for Virginians, because he's told everybody it's going to be ruthless and vicious. And I'm going to be an upbeat problem solver,” Kaine said in an interview. “It's a race not just about two people, but it's like: Who does Virginia see when we look ourselves in the mirror.”