Republican Corey Stewart surprised some political experts when he defeated fellow Republican and former Green Beret Nick Freitas, the establishment-backed candidate, in the GOP primary election in Virginia.
Stewart will now go on to challenge Democrat and former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine in the general election to represent the state in the U.S. Senate.
Also worth noting about Corey Stewart’s victory tonight: Stewart was able to win due to big margins in wealthy Republican areas in Northern Virginia
Like with Trump (and contrary to popular narratives) Stewart’s core base is wealthy Republicans in suburban areas pic.twitter.com/4z1SqLQrX8
— Michael Payne (@MPayneCville) June 13, 2018
In a tweet, President Trump cautioned Democrats in the state not to sleep on Stewart, whom Trump says has a “major chance of winning.” Trump also congratulated Stewart for the win.
“Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia,” the president tweeted.
Trump also took a swipe at Kaine, whom he called a “total stiff,” in the social media post.
“Now he runs against a total stiff, Tim Kaine, who is weak on crime and borders and wants to raise your taxes through the roof. Don’t underestimate Corey, a major chance of winning!”
Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia. Now he runs against a total stiff, Tim Kaine, who is weak on crime and borders, and wants to raise your taxes through the roof. Don’t underestimate Corey, a major chance of winning!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
The Republican Party of Virginia also congratulated Stewart for the win and said, “It was a hard-fought primary, and any one of the three Republican candidates would be miles better than Tim Kaine. The GOP ticket is set for November, and the RPV plans to finish strong and retire Tim Kaine once and for all.”
Last year, Stewart tried to run for Virginia’s governorship but narrowly lost in the Republican primary race against Ed Gillespie. Gillespie went on to lose in the general election to now-Governor Terry McAuliffe.
Here’s more on Stewart, from Politico:
The conservative Stewart has pushed a vehemently anti-immigration stance, has defended confederate civil war monuments and displayed the confederate flag at events.
CNN labels Stewart as a “bombastic conservative” while several other outlets associate him as being far-right. As CNN reports, Stewart values Virginia’s heritage as a Southern state and has fought to allow the state to keep Confederate monuments:
In 2016, Stewart spent several months as the Virginia chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign, though the campaign fired him before the election for participating in a protest outside the Republican National Committee.
Stewart launched his Senate campaign after surprising — and alarming — national Republicans by winning 42.5% in last year’s gubernatorial primary against former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie.
He made Charlottesville’s push to remove its statue of Robert E. Lee the centerpiece of his campaign for governor, holding rallies for the monument and displaying Confederate flags while defending “heritage” at his events. At one point, he attended an Old South ball.
Corey Stewart, the bombastic conservative who built his public image on championing Confederate symbols, will win the Republican Senate nomination in Virginia, CNN projects https://t.co/HKrsNESVeI pic.twitter.com/iiTuZtYPum
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 13, 2018