This article titled “Republican who ran on pro-Confederate platform wins Virginia Senate race” was written by Ben Jacobs in Washington, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 13th June 2018 08.10 Asia/Kolkata
Corey Stewart, an ardent Trump supporter who campaigned in support of Confederate monuments and praised a white nationalist, has won the Republican Senate primary in Virginia, signaling a new set of headaches for the national party.
Stewart, the chair of the Prince William’s county board of supervisors, edged out Nick Freitas on Tuesday night to win in the swing state where Hillary Clinton eked out a victory in 2016. He will face the incumbent, Tim Kaine, who was Clinton’s vice-presidential nominee, in November.
Stewart, a conservative firebrand, has taken a host of controversial positions, including birtherism, and was fired from a volunteer position by the Donald Trump presidential campaign in 2016 for protesting the national Republican party after the release of the Access Hollywood tapes. Stewart again received national attention in 2017 when he almost upset the establishment favorite Ed Gillespie for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Virginia. He based his insurgent campaign on his support for Confederate monuments and labeled his opponent “a cuckservative”. Gillespie lost to Democrat Ralph Northam in the general election.
In a statement, Kaine described Stewart as “a cruder imitation of Donald Trump who stokes white supremacy and brags about being ‘ruthless and vicious’.”
The night also posed other challenges for Republicans in the Old Dominion. In Virginia’s 10th congressional district, a suburban district that Clinton won by 10 points, the Democratic favorite Jennifer Wexton won her primary easily. In contrast, incumbent Barbara Comstock had to fend off Shak Hill, a Trumpist candidate who was endorsed by the former administration official Sebastian Gorka. In another key race, the former CIA officer Abigail Spanberger won the Democratic nomination to face Dave Brat, a Tea Party insurgent who famously beat the House majority leader Eric Cantor in 2014. The suburban Richmond district is considered a potential Democratic pickup in 2018.
The other key Republican contest of the night featured Mark Sanford, a quirky South Carolina incumbent who saw Donald Trump issue an election day endorsement for his opponent, Katie Arrington. Although Sanford is a member of the House Freedom Caucus and ideological conservative, he has long been critical of Trump on issues like tariffs and civil liberties. With 42% of the vote in, Arrington had 52% of the vote, above the 50% margin needed to avoid a runoff and beat the incumbent outright.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010