“The alt-right has taken over the Virginia Republican party,” proclaims Shaun Kenney, former executive director of the group.
John C. Whitbeck Jr. agreed when he submitted his resignation as GOP chairman, saying current Virginia Republican U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart uses “racist language.”
Other state Republican leaders, however, have not disavowed Stewart, a known racist running against current Senator Tim Kaine. Many supported Stewart in the Republican primary that gave him the candidacy and others are scared shitless of maladjusted president Donald Trump.
Stewart embraces white supremacists and racists in Virginia and nationwide.
“Controversy is not necessarily a bad thing,” he says, “because it gives you more media attention.”
Stewart draws a lot of media attention, most of it negative, in a state Hillary Clinton carried in the 2016 Presidential Election and where a Republican hasn’t won statewide since 2009.
Stewart openly supported Alabama Sen. Candidate Roy Moore even after reports of Moore’s sexual fondness for underage girls surfaced. He called a GOP opponent a “cuckservative” and labeled teen gun control activist David Hogg “that punk.”
Opponents of Stewart say he turned Prince William County, where he served as chairman of the board, into a racist haven.
Board member Frank Principi, a Democrat, said Prince William began detaining “people who did not look like us — different skin, different clothes, different language.”
Others called Prince William Condado del Diablo — “the devil’s county.”
Many wondered how Stewart, son of a longshoreman in Minnesota, became a hard-core, rapid right-wing Republican. He worked for a while for Foley & Lardner in Washington, DC, as an international trade lawyer, but his politics angered his colleagues, and he left in 2009.
Others questioned his conversation into an “old South Republican,” an odd transformation for a Yankee from a Democratic family. He bought a historic antebellum mansion in Prince William and began frequenting events that championed the Confederate flag and opposed removal of Confederate monuments.
That may have played well in Prince William County and in Southwestern Virginia but didn’t help him in a failed run for governor in 2017.
“You’ve got this guy who is a transplant coming into Virginia trying to out-Southern folks who’ve been here for 400 years,” Brian Schoeneman, a Fairfax Republican, told the New York Times.
Virginia NAACP president Kevin Chandler calls Stewart “treasonous” in his embrace of the Confederate flag and the Confederacy.
“It symbolizes hate. It symbolizes white supremacy,” the Rev. Chandler told the Times. “And something such as that should not be displayed openly in the public.”
Self-described Southern Virginia secessionist George Randall disagrees.
“I’m a secessionist because the federal government is anti-Christian and we’re different culturally,” Randall tells the Times. “The government never surrendered, only the Army. We’re still under Reconstruction.”
Randall and his twin brother provide what they term as “volunteer security” for Stewart That means they show up at his rallies with guns. They promote “a future for white children.”
Stewart hired both his press secretary and a media adviser from the Wisconsin Congressional candidate Paul Nehlen, who advocated deportation of all American Muslims along with other racist positions. Stewart called Nehlin “one of my personal heroes” before disavowing him after coming under fire but still recruited two staff members from him.
Stewart also has ties with Jason Kessler, the white supremacist organizer of the rally in Charlottesville that erupted in violence and left a woman dead in the streets. He appeared with Kessler in a press conference opposing removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville.
Stewart also has a strong Kessler supporter, Brian Landrum, on the Prince William County payroll. Landrum appeared on Facebook as part of a chat group that included violent racists and talked of panning another rally in Charlottesville. Landrum’s contribution? Profane comments.
Kessler says he has been in recent contact with Landrum and calls him “a friend.”
Stewart calls all this just “the left calling Trump and other conservatives racists and bigots.”
Yes, Trump and too many self-proclaimed conservatives are racists and bigots. So is Corey Stewart.
(My thanks to Danny Hakim and Stephanie Saul of The New York Times for much of the material for this article.)