Republican leaders in Virginia are frantically trying to find an alternative candidate to Corey Stewart, who seeks the party’s nomination to run against Sen. Tim Kaine (D) in 2018.
As Virginia Republicans gather Friday for their annual retreat, party leaders are alarmed at the possibility of fielding Corey Stewart as next year’s U.S. Senate nominee and, with help from the national GOP, they are maneuvering to recruit someone else to be the face of the party.
Stewart, who narrowly lost the GOP nomination for governor in June on a platform of Trumpism and what he called “Confederate heritage,” has promised a “vicious” campaign in 2018 against Sen. Tim Kaine (D), a popular former governor who is seeking a second term in a state that he helped Hillary Clinton carry by five points as her running mate in the 2016 presidential election.
Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, recently summoned former governor James S. Gilmore III to Washington to ask him to run, while Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah) met with Del. Nick Freitas (Culpeper) to advise him on a likely campaign.
Stewart dismissed national Republicans working against him as “Mitch McConnell’s bozos,” referring to the Senate majority leader.