As the blood finally dries after the Presidential Republican Primary battles in Virginia, the next vicious civil war is already on the horizon. Primary battles for Governor, Attorney General, and Lieutenant Governor all pit various factions of the Republican Grassroots against one another. With emotions already heightened, raw, and excited, these next battles threaten to continue the fracturing of old and new alliances alike.
In the Governors’ race, the traditional grassroots and Republican Party donors have their candidate in Ed Gillespie. Gillespie has already done all the hard work to garner the support of the necessary activists requisite a formidable ground game. Gillespie also already has the fundraising structure in place and is ready to go into high speed at a moments notice. Gillespie’s organization, broad support, and name ID make him the most dangerous Republican Gubernatorial candidate for any Democrat to face in 2017.
However, Gillespie’s history as a Washington Insider and Lobbyist make him a symbol of everything the TEA Party and the conservative grassroots have fought against for years. No one seems to doubt Mr. Gillespie’s resume or character, but asking the conservative grassroots to trust a successful national lobbyist is simply more than any rational politico should expect.
Without Ken Cuccinelli in the race, the conservative grassroots do not have a dog in the fight. For myriad reasons, many in the conservative movement have turned to Trump Lieutenant and Prince William Supervisor Corey Stewart as an alternative to what they view as the more establishment candidate in Ed Gillespie. Oddly, the bad blood between Corey Stewart and Ken Cuccinelli does not seem to have caught on to Cuccinelli’s conservatives on the ground. Many are already lining up behind the populist firebrand and long time Trump advocate.
While sporting an impressive war chest for a member of a Northern Virginia Board of Supervisors member, Corey Stewart has no statewide Name ID. Ask anyone not intimately involved in Virginia politics who Corey Stewart is and you get nothing but blank stares and quizzical mouths. In addition to the fact that no one knows who Corey Stewart is, many conservatives, such as myself, find it impossible to get behind a leader of the new progressive populist movement within the Republican Party. While many of us will vote for Donald Trump as the Republican Nominee in November, we do not support Trump’s populism, brash tactics, or the burn-it-to-the-ground mentality of his supporters.
Thankfully, for those of us in that camp, Congressman Rob Wittman of Virginia’s 1st Congressional District is also running for Governor. Rob Wittman is now one of our senior Representatives in Congress and has elected experience on nearly every level of government. For those looking for a Governor who understands local government, there is no better choice than Congressman Wittman. That said, until the last few years, Congressman Wittman’s legislative record has been less than inspiring for those in the Conservative Grassroots.
Congressman Wittman has served faithfully, though quietly and without controversy. For conservatives, an inability to be controversial is tantamount to an inability to lead. Congressman Wittman has learned to “get things done” for his district in Washington D.C., another mark against him in conservative circles. In order to get things done, our Congressmen need to have good relationships with Party Leadership and in order to have good relationships with Party Leadership, Congressmen are required to vote in ways that offend die hard conservatives.
Congressman Wittman faces other challenges. Establishment Republicans who can imagine nothing more important than having senior representatives from their Virginia Delegation in Congress do not want to lose Congressman Wittman’s experience and relationships on The Hill. Therefore, regardless how much they may respect the Congressman, they are more likely to support Ed Gillespie, rather than lose what they view as an invaluable and safe seat in The House of Representatives.
What does this all mean?
It’s too early to be certain of anything. We do not even know for certain whether or not we’ll be nominating our Governor by primary or convention. With State Central evenly split between advocates of the two processes, one can only imagine that whatever final decision is made, it will surely have an impact on who’s in and who’s out come crunch time.
What we can be certain of, however, is that the battle between Stewart and Gillespie will be nasty, vitriolic, and a continuation of the emotionally charged battles fought over the last year. This, at a time when Republicans could really use a bit of deliberate unity as a break from the bloody battles we’ve stomached over the past two years. While further antipathy may be inevitable and necessary, it is certainly not beneficial.
For that reason, I do hope that Virginia Republicans will keep this in mind as we make our way through yet another primary season in 2017. Our divisions empower the Democrat Party. That’s not a judgment on my part. That’s a fact. If we must engage in bloody primary battles (and I admit that maybe we must), we must also decide to come together afterwards. This is a choice that we have demonstrated to one another over the last two years that we are unwilling to make as a party. If we continue to decide to constantly undermine each other after each primary season, then there is absolutely no hope that we’ll defeat any of the Democrats we face in 2017’s general elections.
I recommend a reevaluation of priority for members of all factions. We can continue to elect Democrats through our own vitriolic post-primary bickering or we can decide that we’ve had enough of Democrat governance in Virginia, lay down our arms after our own battles have been decided, and choose to elect Republicans in November.
That same choice is before us this year as well, though I do not believe Virginia is yet ready to stomach any mature suggestions at present. There are still too many open wounds and too much disgust all around to hope for unity before summers’ end.
Anyone of those mentioned thus far would be much better than a second term of McAuliffe.
This is Virginia. Governors only get one term.
Oops, my apologies. Thanks for the correction.
Alas, after five years, I’m still a recovering New Yorker.
Insert Mark Herring or any other Dem in place of McAuliffe then.
Ain’t that the truth! Though, McAuliffe is done. But any of these Republicans will be better than the Democrat.
Corey Stewart all the way! There’s NO doubt but Corey Stewart will stand up for the people of Virginia! What St. Patrick did for Ireland in driving out the snakes, Corey Stewart did for Prince William County in driving out the illegals. And make no mistake – the massive number of illegals there were really hurting the citizens and taxpayers of PWC: they brought rampant crime, burdened the welfare system/social safety net, & because of their extra needs (not speaking English) they strained school & government resources, drove down wages, and took (lower-level) jobs from residents. And how did Corey Stewart achieve these results?? By having the courage to stand up against liberals and insist that the laws ALREADY ON THE BOOKS be followed!
Our current Governor McAwful has done some serious damage to VA these last several years. Governor Stewart will help undo the damage and #MakeVirginiaGreatAgain.
I don’t believe in whitewashing Ed ‘TARP’ Gillespie’s blatant Establishment leanings. Gillespie is THE epitome of corporate welfare enabler with his public backing of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). Add to that 3 more strikes: (1) Gillespie’s early support of single-payer health care, and (2) his ongoing support of “comprehensive immigration reform” e.g. amnesty; and finally (3) his refusal to answer the Virginia Citizen Defense League (VCDL)’s survey on gun rights.
To summarize: Ed Gillespie is FOR corporate welfare, single-payer healthcare, and amnesty. And Gillespie is NOT solidly for Virginian’s 2nd Amendment Rights! Which party is he running for again?
Now for Representative Rob Wittman – he’s a nice guy; but a nice guy is not good enough. Because while Wittman’s not near as bad an Establishment/Democrat-lite as Ed Gillespie, he’s certainly no stalwart Conservative either. As a matter of fact Conservative Review rates him an abysmal 62% Liberty Score. That’s a D minus. Ouch. Freedom Works rates him a Lifetime score of 71%, but in the 2012 Congress he earned a paltry 35% on economic freedom!! C’mon – We can and should do better.
I’m not convinced Corey is better.
The Long Summer Of Connie will continue into 2017.
…or things may get better. It’s a strong field, and I’m sure we will be able to rally behind the nominee for governor, no matter who it is.
I hope you’re right. I truly, truly do.
Mr Tucket in all due respect Stewart is well known in Va and even other parts of the US because of PWC immigration policy. The press is constantly reaching out to him about the county’s immigration mandate especially when doing a contrast piece with other counties who are sanctuary cities.
From Arlington to Hampton Roads knows Stewart and everyone in between. I don’t know who and where you are getting your info from. Whose campaign is paying you?
I’m going to go with Steven Brodie Tucker’s assessment on name recognition … as opposed to someone who feels it necessary to make a spurious and insulting claim of bribery to support their belief.
Ask the folks in the Hampton Roads area who have been dealing with the illegal alien issue since 2007 and who Corey has been in touch with ever since if they know Corey!
So the people, likely politicos and volunteers, he has performed outreach to know of him? I’d hope so. If they didn’t, he’d be a total failure as a politician.
Don’t be ridiculous. No one pays Steven Tucker anything. You sound like a nutcase when you say things like this.
Jeanine look, at the pot calling the kettle black. I have heard that word “nut” used on more than one ocassion and on more than one blog about you! LOL
Have a wonderful summer Jeanine. It is going to be a long and hot one!
Your bloggers did not get it right about Trump and nor will they get it right about Corey!
Politicos know Stewart. People actively involved in Virginia politics know him, know he’s a BOS member, know he’s a co-chair for Team Virginia, know he’s a chair for Trump, know he raises taxes on his constituents, and know he talks tough on immigration. The average voter has never heard of him. His only chance is a convention, by if it is a convention, Wittman, also from the 1st District, and more respected will make it impossible for Stewart to win. No one has to pay me to know these things. I’m involved and I pay attention.
I think a three-way race to the convention floor is a win for Gillespie unless we switch to a better voting method such as the Kemeny-Young.
Gillespie is in the best position possible regardless of the method, though, for Rob, a convention remains his best chance.
I’ll add to that, the perception of Stewart among those few who know him isn’t all that positive. He’s either an unknown variable or a disliked variable.
Wrong Joseph you don’t win reelection after reelection in a minority majority country because you are “unknown” or disliked like Stewart has done.
Better check your sources!
Stewart won the BOS vote in one county repeatedly, that means he is liked by his own county, not the state. Statewide? He’s got the allegations of corruption from the LT Governor convention and the reputation of his incompetent handling of this convention hanging over him.
My sources are the local GOP committee and the campaign volunteers, I think I’ll trust their word on Stewart. By the way, I should add that my local GOP met Corey Stewart a few years back when he was running for LT Governor, they weren’t impressed.
Corey Stewart is the Donald Trump of Virginia although even Trump thinks he goes too far. Since Trump didn’t come close to winning the majority of Republicans in the primary, how would Stewart possibly win?
Exactly, and Trump had the advantage of tremendous name ID due to tv shows and his train-wreck of a campaign. Stewart, on the other hand? Nope.
Our country is majority minority? Is our state as well?
Corey Stewart wins because whites like his anti-immigrant stance even though it hasn’t been very effective. Or they vote for him because they enjoy yearly tax increases.
Wrong. I am involved and I do pay attention and have lived in Va for over 50 years. Wittman is a very nice man and I respect him immensely. The problem is no one knows him outside of his district and has always played it safe. Stewart has been on local and national news for the last ten years.
An indication of strong leadership skills is to take on a difficult and unpopular issue like illegal immigration which Stewart has done and continues to do. It is easy to maintain the status quo but it is more difficult to demonstrate strong leadership on a issue.
Considering that the SCC voted for secret ballots, my guess is that those who favored that also favor primaries. Too bad.
That is likely. That may also mean Wittman doesn’t run afterall. But we’ll see. Or maybe the Congressman does take a shot in a primary. It would help him get statewide name id for down the road.