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How Corey Stewart is dividing Republicans already

The new Republican nominee for a US Senate seat in Virginia has already caused a great divide within his party in Was...

Posted: Jun 14, 2018 5:00 PM
Updated: Jun 14, 2018 5:00 PM

The new Republican nominee for a US Senate seat in Virginia has already caused a great divide within his party in Washington.

Fewer than 24 hours after Corey Stewart's win Tuesday night, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to endorse his former Virginia campaign chair.

But congressional Republicans are cool to the campaign of the man who has embraced the commonwealth's Confederate past.

"Well look, we have a big map. Right now we are focused on Florida, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana. Big map. I don't see Virginia in it," Sen. Cory Gardner, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm for Senate Republicans.

Stewart has been campaigning non-stop in Virginia for more than two years. Within days of his narrow primary loss for governor in 2017 to former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, Stewart announced plans to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine. Over the course of those two years, Stewart passionately argued against the removal of Confederate monuments throughout Virginia and defended the actions of some involved in the Charlottesville white supremacist rally that ended in violence.

Stewart is also a vocal supporter of Trump, and served as his campaign chair in Virginia before Trump fired him after he staged a news conference critical of the RNC during the presidential campaign. Trump conspicuously stayed out of the primary, but wasted little time backing Stewart with a tweet Wednesday.

"Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia. Now he runs against a total stiff, Tim Kaine, who is weak on crime and borders, and wants to raise your taxes through the roof," Trump tweeted. "Don't underestimate Corey, a major chance of winning!"

Asked about Trump's support, Gardner tried to downplay the divide.

"Well again, I think my focus continues to be on a number of states that we have candidates who are winning and ahead," said Gardner, a Colorado Republican.

Stewart's opponent, Kaine, was critical of Stewart's embrace of the Confederacy.

"I don't really think it's about Confederate flags and Confederate monuments, I would say it's more about cozying up to people who have a tradition of white supremacy," said Kaine, who was the 2016 Democratic nominee for vice president. "I mean, this isn't about the past, it's about the future."

But he stopped short of calling Stewart a racist.

"I think he is very comfortable trying to stir up bad attitudes in others, but I don't know him well enough to reach that conclusion about him," Kaine said. "But if you don't mind stoking it and praising people who have those views, that's just unacceptable."

Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican and the No. 2 GOP member of the chamber, said of Stewart that he didn't "know him from Adam so I'm interested in learning more and I'll reach my own conclusion."

"I don't really know anything about Corey Stewart," Cornyn told reporters. "I just saw that he won the primary last night. I'm interested in meeting him and learning more about him. Obviously, if we could pick up another Senate seat in Virginia that would be a good thing."

Sen. John Thune, a South Dakota Republican who's also in leadership, also weighed in.

"Sometimes in a primary process, the thing that we try to get done is get the most electable candidate on the ballot in the fall and that doesn't always happen," Thune said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 32078

Reported Deaths: 2004
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9268539
Lake3320168
Cass15826
Allen130966
St. Joseph120534
Hendricks113067
Hamilton111592
Johnson1086104
Elkhart105728
Madison58258
Porter49021
Bartholomew48133
Clark46138
LaPorte41522
Tippecanoe3753
Jackson3671
Howard36519
Delaware35735
Hancock32127
Shelby31521
Floyd31438
Boone28835
Morgan26224
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery23117
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19121
Noble18921
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Dubois1852
Greene16724
Warrick16426
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Henry1619
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Washington521
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Jay440
Randolph433
Jefferson411
Whitley402
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Clay391
Owen341
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
DeKalb311
Perry260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton251
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Wells240
Crawford230
Blackford211
Switzerland190
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Spencer171
Posey170
Parke170
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0154

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 113195

Reported Deaths: 4923
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook738193354
Lake7767250
DuPage7290340
Kane5866153
Will5238258
Winnebago199351
McHenry145268
St. Clair101773
Kankakee80242
Kendall72719
Rock Island63922
Champaign5697
Madison54056
Boone40716
Sangamon33226
DeKalb3313
Randolph2593
Jackson22810
McLean21210
Stephenson1952
Ogle1922
Macon18819
Peoria1858
Clinton17816
Out of IL1771
Union1417
LaSalle14013
Whiteside13310
Iroquois1314
Unassigned1200
Coles1159
Warren1140
Jefferson10116
Knox950
Monroe9211
Grundy892
McDonough835
Lee761
Tazewell683
Cass670
Henry670
Williamson541
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin421
Perry410
Pulaski400
Montgomery391
Vermilion391
Morgan341
Christian334
Livingston312
Douglas280
Jo Daviess270
Fayette203
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Jersey201
Washington180
Woodford182
Mason170
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Bureau151
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Mercer150
Carroll132
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