State Democrats Hope Stewart Nomination Will Help Flip Key House Seats

Jul 12, 2018

Credit AP Photo / Steve Helber

Virginia Democrats are trying to tie vulnerable House members in the Commonwealth to the GOP’s controversial U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart.

Corey Stewart is largely seen as the Commonwealth’s Donald Trump – a candidate who unashamedly embraces hardline immigration policies while also stirring controversy by embracing symbols like the confederate flag, monuments and generals. And Democrats think they can use Stewart to knock off some House Republicans, which they’re trying to do in the 2nd District.

Democratic challenger Elaine Luria is charging that the incumbent Republican Scott Taylor is racist for not disavowing Stewart, which Taylor brushes aside.

“Eight races now, never ran with anybody. Now, all of the sudden they’re like ‘oh you have to do that.’ I think it assumes the people in my district are stupid and they can’t see the difference between myself and someone else.”

Southwest Virginia Congressman Morgan Griffith says the Democrats’ emerging strategy is weak.

“I agree with where he’s trying to take us, but I don’t agree with everything the president says. And I certainly don’t agree with everything Corey Stewart says. But each congressperson needs to be judged on what they have done and what their statements are, not on somebody else."

But Democrats say just as tying Republicans to Trump is fair game, so is tying them to Stewart. Here’s Virginia’s senior Senator Mark Warner.

“When you’ve got an extremist candidate and a Republican Party in Virginia that used to be viewed as conservative, pro-business and it’s being taken over by the Trump wing and Mr. Stewart is the extremist of that. It’s a real conundrum for the candidates."

The national Republican Party has refused to back Stewart in his bid to oust Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, and many fear he’s going to damage the party’s brand nationally.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.