- The Washington Times
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart on Tuesday rode a pro-Trump message to narrowly win the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Virginia, beating back a furious challenge from state Del. Nick Freitas.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Stewart was at about 45 percent support, with Mr. Freitas at 43 percent and Chesapeake Bishop E.W. Jackson at 12 percent.

Mr. Stewart is now poised to square off against Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democrats’ 2016 vice presidential nominee who was unopposed for his party’s nomination Tuesday.

“Virginia has a choice: Virginia can choose to continue with the prosperity and the progress of America under President Trump, or it can choose the past, with everything we know that has failed, and that’s Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine,” Mr. Stewart said at his election night party Tuesday evening.

The mention of Mrs. Clinton prompted a “lock her up” chant — a fixture at Trump campaign rallies in 2016.

“That might just happen, by the way,” Mr. Stewart said. “And Timmy, too. Oh, we’re going to have a lot of fun between now and November.”

After nearly capturing the Republican nomination for governor last year against GOP nominee Ed Gillespie, Mr. Stewart broke through this time with an unapologetically pro-Trump message.

He touted his county’s strict crackdown on illegal immigration, and also continued to highlight preserving Virginia’s Confederate monuments and historical statues as a key part of his campaign message.

Mr. Freitas, a state delegate from Culpepper, had attracted support from a number of Republican elected officials in the state, as well as national conservative figures like Sen. Rand Paul and Mike Lee, but it wasn’t enough.

During the campaign’s closing stretch, Mr. Freitas had also raised questions about Mr. Stewart’s past ties to Paul Nehlen, a past GOP challenger to Speaker Paul D. Ryan who has come under fire for anti-Semitic and racially-tinged postings online, as well as Jason Kessler, one of the organizers of last August’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.

He said he doesn’t think Mr. Stewart is a racist, but that he’s shown “horrible judgment” and that Democrats would repeatedly try to paint the party as racist if Mr. Stewart emerged as the nominee.

Mr. Stewart, meanwhile, pushed back, saying he doesn’t want anything to do with anybody who has racist views but that he’s not going to apologize for every “lunatic” that’s out there.

He complimented Mr. Freitas on running a “very, very tough race,” calling him “one heck of a campaigner,” and Mr. Freitas said Tuesday he plans to support the GOP ticket in the fall.

Mr. Kaine’s campaign also “welcomed” Mr. Stewart into the general election contest Tuesday evening.

“A cruder imitation of Donald Trump who stokes white supremacy and brags about being ‘ruthless and vicious,’ Corey Stewart would be an embarrassment for Virginia in the U.S. Senate, where he would eliminate health care for millions of Americans and slash public education funding,” said Kaine campaign spokesman Ian Sams.

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