Controversial GOP Senate nominee upbeat at Thursday evening Rappahannock County fundraiser
Stepping out of his pickup truck when arriving in Rappahannock County Thursday evening for a fundraising appearance at Gadino Cellars, one would never guess Virginia Republican Senate nominee Corey Stewart was lagging behind in the polls. Really lagging.
“There are no recent polls,” an upbeat Stewart told the Rappahannock News before heading indoors to greet a large and enthusiastic crowd of supporters sporting smiles as wide as his. “The polls that were done were by universities, and they were not of likely voters. So we think that it’s close. I think the Kaine campaign thinks it’s close.”
Which if that were the case it’s doubtful incumbent Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine would be stumping himself next Tuesday in tiny Rappahannock County, given it’s one of the smallest voting populations in the state.
Stewart, on the other hand, has grown accustomed to being unfazed. He’s had to. The four-term chairman of the board of supervisors in Prince William County has been in survival mode ever since the leadership of his own Republican party, Richmond north to Washington, D.C., sought to block his nomination.
“I think so,” he replied, when asked if there was a chance of turning his candidacy around at this late juncture, even though at virtually every campaign stop his opposition — much of it the media, he said — accuses him of holding alt-right, unite-the-right, anti-Semite sympathies, which he’s denied.
“They’ve called me everything — every bad word under the sun,” Stewart said. “But that’s part of it. You’ve just got to live with the media, and the major media is pretty biased. But I’ll tell you something, when I’m on the ground and I’m talking to people — in fact, unfriendly audiences — these things that the media has said about me never come up. Which means that even traditional Democrats aren’t buying this B.S.
“But I’m a Republican, so I’ve gotten used to it over the years,” he continued. “People can look through the bias I think.”
Stewart, at the same time, is unwavering in his support for the president, despite being removed two years ago as co-chairman of Trump’s Virginia presidential campaign after he joined a pro-Trump women’s demonstration in front of the Republican National Committee headquarters, infuriating the anti-Trump leadership inside.
“I was Trump before Trump was Trump,” Stewart declared then, and here in Little Washington on Thursday he doubled down in his praise of the president, who tweeted following the candidate’s primary victory over Nick Freitas: “Don’t underestimate Corey, a major chance of winning!”
“I think the president’s been doing a great job,” Stewart said. “I’m fully in line with him on building the border wall, removing dangerous criminal illegal aliens, making the tax cuts permanent, rebuilding our military, supporting our veterans. And Tim Kaine has been an automatic ‘no’ to virtually everything the president has proposed.
“I think Kaine is still bitter about 2016,” he added. “But I think by and large Virginians can see the reality that President Trump, even if they didn’t support him in 2016, he’s done a very good job for the country.”
With just over two weeks before Election Day, Stewart said Virginia voters will now see for the first time a full court press of Kaine.
“You’re going to see my ads start to hit in the next few days,” he said. “So far it’s been all Tim Kaine. You know, he’s got more money than the queen of England, but Tim has spent $15 million dollars and I don’t think he’s moved the needle. I don’t think this traditional kind of advertising [he’s doing] works very well.
“My advertising is going to be a lot more brutal and honest,” Stewart promised. “And he’s going to have a lot to answer to.”