Speed Reads

2018 elections

Corey Stewart wins Virginia GOP primary to challenge Sen. Tim Kaine

Conservative provocateur Corey Stewart beat Virginia state House Del. Nick Freitas and minister E.W. Jackson in Tuesday's Virginia Republican primary and will face Sen. Tim Kaine (D) in the fall. Stewart came close to beating former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie in the 2017 Virginia GOP gubernatorial primary, buoyed by his vocal support for Confederate monuments and the Confederate battle flag. He was also state chairman of Donald Trump's campaign before being fired for protesting against the RNC.

State and national Republicans expressed concern at Stewart's victory, suggesting it could endanger GOP candidates down ballot — at least three Republican House members are in competitive races this year in Virginia, including Reps. Barbara Comstock, Scott Taylor, and Dave Brat. The National Republican Senatorial Committee did not immediately say it will support Stewart, who has a much smaller war chest than Kaine. Stewart immediately promised a "vicious" campaign against Kaine, while Kaine's spokesman hit back, calling Stewart "a cruder imitation of Donald Trump who stokes white supremacy and brags about being 'ruthless and vicious.'"

"I am extremely disappointed that a candidate like Corey Stewart could win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate," former Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) tweeted. GOP strategist Brian Walsh added: "Can we just skip past the part where the media focuses on all the idiotic, racist & embarrassing things Corey Stewart will say & do the next five months and just acknowledge Tim Kaine won his re-election tonight. And he has Stewart voters to thank for it."