Virginia Republicans can't seem to find a single viable candidate for the U.S. Senate. They're starting to accept Tim Kaine is here to stay as Virginia senator.
It looks like Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) is cruising to easy re-election. At this point, even Republicans are coming to grips with this.
“I don’t think there is anybody,” a longtime Republican strategist from Virginia told The Hill. “You can’t control the dynamics afoot, and these guys at the race don’t even have close to the fundraising prowess or the ability at that level to deal with someone as effective as Tim Kaine.”
The problem for the GOP is the Virginia Republican Senate primary is, by general consensus, a total mess, with candidates so extreme they’re alienating.
The GOP frontrunner in the race is Prince William County supervisor Corey Stewart, who supports flying the Confederate flag and who marched in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue months before neo-Nazis violently rioted over the same thing. He has called for arresting mayors who don’t demand Latinos show their papers, and said Republicans who vote to expand Medicaid have erectile dysfunction.
Stewart ran in the Virginia gubernatorial primary in 2017 — and almost won. He also co-chaired Trump’s presidential campaign in Virginia, but was fired because his pro-Trump demonstrations were too zealous.
Challenging Stewart for the nomination is Earl Walker Jackson Sr., a controversial minister who has said that yoga causes Satanic possession, that gays and lesbians are “very sick people,” and that the military is becoming “Sodom and Gomorrah.” Jackson unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor of Virginia in 2013.
Also running for the GOP nomination is state lawmaker Nick Freitas, best known for a statehouse floor speech in which he said that mass shootings are caused by “the abortion industry.”
It looks like Virginia voters are turned off by all of this. According to a poll from Christopher Newport University, Kaine beats all three candidates by more than 20 points. Roll Call rates the race “Solid Democratic.”
On the whole, Virginia seems to be trending bluer. It was one of the swing states in 2016 that broke for Clinton, and last year Democrat Ralph Northam walloped GOP lobbyist Ed Gillespie in the race for governor after the latter ran an excruciatingly racist campaign.
It’s becoming clear to Republicans that if they want to retain their Senate majority against the blue wave, Virginia is not going to help them do it.