Virginia's Corey Stewart Is Not a 'Firebrand'

Charles P. Pierce
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Esquire

The Republicans in Virginia, like their co-religionists in Alabama, have picked themselves a real winner to run against incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Tim Kaine in the fall. This time, though, it’s not an aging scuzball like the Gadsden Mall Creeper, Roy Moore. This time it’s an unreconstructed Confederate meat bag named Corey Stewart. And, as you can see here, The New York Times already is in unfortunate soft-pedal on the whole business.

Corey Stewart, a hard-right firebrand and county official, captured the Republican nomination for Senate in Virginia on Tuesday night, dealing a blow to a party already struggling to hold on in an increasingly blue state that is key to Republican hopes of defending their House majority. Mr. Stewart, who has attacked illegal immigration in heated language and fiercely defended the state’s Confederate monuments, edged Nick Freitas, a conservative state legislator, The Associated Press reported, with about 45 percent of the vote. He will take on Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat, in November’s general election.

No.

Just no.

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Stewart is not a “hard-right activist.” Neither is he a “hard-right firebrand.” He is an unapologetic public racist, and damned proud of it, who goes out of his way to associate with other unapologetic public racists, who are damned proud of it, too.

Here’s CNN, tip-toeing around the obvious reality as though it were a landmine.

Corey Stewart, the bombastic conservative who built his public image on championing Confederate symbols, won the Republican Senate nomination in Virginia.

No.

Just no.

Stewart is not a “Confederate Symbols Defender.” Neither is he a “bombastic conservative.” He is an unapologetic public racist, and damned proud of it, who goes out of his way to associate with other unapologetic public racists, who are damned proud of it, too. Here’s a little flashback from The Washington Post at the time of the terrorist attack in Charlottesville:

“All the weak Republicans, they couldn’t apologize fast enough,” Stewart said in an interview with The Washington Post. “They played right into the hands of the left wing. Those [Nazi] people have nothing to do with the Republican Party. There was no reason to apologize.” However, Stewart has made several joint appearances with ­Jason Kessler, organizer of the “Unite the Right” rally that sparked the unrest in Charlottesville. Stewart met Kessler at an event earlier this year to protest the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park in Charlottesville. And at one point during the primary race, Stewart attended a Charlottesville news conference with Kessler and Isaac Smith, founders of Unity and Security for America (USA), a fledgling group that calls for “defending Western Civilization.”

As you might imagine, the NAACP is a real fan of all these goobers.

For pure politics, the early line is that Stewart’s nomination could be an extinction-level event for Virginia’s Republican congresscritters. This isn’t Alabama, where Moore could have bitten the head off a live chicken and not cost any other Republicans their jobs. Virginia has been purpling for 10 years now, and that means that Stewart at the moment is a case of electoral cholera. Back to the NYT for the details.

Republicans feared that having Mr. Stewart as their nominee against Mr. Kaine, the former vice-presidential nominee, will spur moderate voters and women to desert the party in droves, imperiling several contested House seats in the state. Virginia Republicans, who have not won statewide in nearly a decade, were never optimistic about defeating Mr. Kaine, who has more than $10 million on hand. But their candidates may now find themselves captive to Mr. Stewart’s every utterance over the next five months - an unwelcome burden for lawmakers like Representatives Barbara Comstock and Scott Taylor, who were already endangered in their campaigns for re-election…The National Republican Senate Committee declined to comment on Mr. Stewart’s nomination.

It is difficult to comment when you’re all crowded behind the sofa while somebody sends out for more bourbon.

(In addition, in what is shaping up as a blockbuster year for women candidates, three of the Democratic congressional candidates against vulnerable Virginia Republicans are women; one of them is a Navy veteran and another one had a career in the CIA.)

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Elsewhere, there was Congressman Mark Sanford, who lost his primary in South Carolina to a Trump-endorsed state representative named Kate Arrington. The president* jumped in with both tiny feet late in the campaign and now Sanford’s out, so you can forget about any Republican incumbents growing a spine any time between now and November. Further down the ballot, in Wisconsin, the Democrats flipped another state senate seat, this one in a district that the president* carried by 17 points in 2016. This, by the way, was one of the special elections that Governor Scott Walker was forced into having by a state court.

But Stewart’s win is the most revelatory. There simply is not a Democratic equivalent to an outright neo-Confederate's getting a nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Stewart shows, once again, that the prion disease remains active throughout the Republican Party at every level, and this at a time in which the people who could do the most to recreate the party’s immune system are too timid or too nuts to do it. Doug Jones’ surprise win in Alabama wasn’t enough to keep Republican voters in Virginia from nominating Zombie Jeff Davis, despite the fact that doing so might turn out to be a termination notice for a Republican majority in Congress.

Doesn’t matter. The libs are mad. That’s what counts.

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