With the nomination of Corey Stewart in Virginia, Republicans are again aligning themselves with hate.
It’s not often that a political party doubles down on a strategy that produced a nine-point defeat just seven months earlier. But Virginia Republicans are doing exactly that with the nomination of Trump-happy extremist and neo-Confederate Corey Stewart to run against incumbent Democratic Senator Tim Kaine in November.
Stewart’s win means there’s another hurdle for Republicans as they scramble to keep control of the Senate in November.
Across the country in states that were decided by less than 10 points in 2016, Republicans find themselves flailing in Senate races where Democrats have an incumbent, i.e. Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and New Mexico. Virginia is the latest example.
Republican Senate woes even extend to states that Trump won easily in 2016, where Democratic candidates are still running strong.
In Missouri, for example, Sen. Claire McCaskill may be benefiting from the GOP implosion surrounding the state’s disgraced governor.
And in the deeply red state of Tennessee, Democrat Phil Bredesen continues to run ahead of Trump acolyte, Rep. Marsha Blackburn.
That’s why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has warned that the GOP faces a possible “Category 3, 4, or 5” storm during this midterm cycle.
Meanwhile, Virginia’s primary also shows the GOP creating problems for itself by nominating candidates like Stewart.
Stewart won his party’s nomination even though just one week ago a video surface of him calling overt white supremacist and anti-Semite Paul Nehlen a “personal hero.” Stewart even appeared in public last year with neo-Nazi activist Jason Kessler, two months before he organized the deadly riot in Charlottesville.
Virginia’s former Republican lieutenant governor tweeted his disgust last night:
I am extremely disappointed that a candidate like Corey Stewart could win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. This is clearly not the Republican Party I once knew, loved and proudly served. Every time I think things can’t get worse they do, and there is no end in sight.
— Bill Bolling (@lgbillbolling) June 13, 2018
And with Stewart, it’s not just the Senate race that’s in danger for the GOP in Virginia. The Cook Political Report predicts Stewart’s primary win will weaken Republicans’ chances in four House races across that state.
What’s amazing is that Virginia GOP just went down this path last November, when Ed Gillespie tried to position himself as a Trump firebrand while running for governor in the Commonwealth.
Embracing a racist campaign strategy, Gillespie took what was expected to be a very close race and turned it into a nearly double-digit defeat for Republicans.
With Stewart, the GOP seems to be making the same bet in Virginia.