Speculation, defeatism is not what we need now in Virginia
I have known Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, since 2007 when as a freshman Town Councilmember in Leesburg, I emailed his office about his illegal immigration plan to see if it had some benefit for my town and county – which unfortunately, due to politics, did not adopt any facets of it.
When I became a Loudoun supervisor in 2012, I got to know Corey better and liked him so much that I backed him for Lt. Governor in 2013. I worked with him closely in the Virginia for Trump effort in 2016 and did not flinch in backing him for governor (in 2016).
All that changed when he injected himself into the Charlottesville monument dispute in February 2017 and when he was photographed (unwittingly, I believe) with a number of alt.right white supremacists. Being Jewish and not liking these alt.right Nazi KKK kooks at all, it was sickening to me to see the direction he was taking in his campaign. So, I did not vote for Stewart for Governor in the June 2017 primary, or in the U.S. Senate primary June 12.
I will not dwell on the many “mistakes” I think Stewart made in various campaigns, but will say that it’s necessary to move forward and not look backward. I think we need to stop the handwringing, fearmongering and Monday-morning quarterbacking and work with him and all GOP nominees to ensure President Trump and the national Republicans keep a majority in Congress come January 2019.
That being said, I think the Stewart campaign has to do some outreach and game plan changes in order to come close to beating Kaine and prevent House candidates from losing. Here are my suggestions:
- Corey needs to reach out and speak directly with every single GOP House candidate and pledge to work with their campaigns, not against them. Just the way Democrats are going to try to capitalize on Tim Kaine’s coattails (and cash) to win House seats, if Corey wants any future in Virginia Republican politics, he is going to have to be a team player and not do anything to create wedges with the House candidates, especially those in vulnerable seats (i.e. the 10th). The last thing we need is seeing House GOP candidates distancing themselves from Stewart, or worst, calling for his ouster from the ticket.
- Prior to the primary, Corey disavowed certain alt.right leaders, but the liberal media is doing its utmost to keep Charlottesville alive. Stewart needs to completely sidestep and avoid these issues and change the subject given the opportunity.
- Corey needs to run on his record as Prince William County chairman. Despite the fact GOP activists have largely heard him talking about national issues, the reality is that Chairman Stewart is quite skilled in local bread-and-butter issues – notably transportation, schools and economic development. Prince William County is a great place to do business and live and he needs to take credit for that. He needs to capitalize on his record, including bucking anti-Sharia law activists in voting to permit a mosque in the Gainesville area.
- Corey needs to capitalize on his name recognition in Prince William and Loudoun to try to win those counties, or narrow the Democratic gap. Corey has a large base of support in Prince William County, which if he were to win against Kaine, could help him narrow the losses against Kaine and help House candidates. If he spent every waking weekend door knocking in Loudoun and Prince William, which is where the GOP and swing votes are, he could really help his chances. He’s a retail politician unlike Tim Kaine.
- Corey’s folks need to reach out to the Freitas and Jackson campaigns and bring in key volunteers and paid coordinators. He started the outreach to those supporters with this video. Not sure former Virginia Trump coordinator Mike Rubino will even consider working for Corey, given the bad blood, but Corey cannot win this election or come close and preventing a House debacle without engaging the losing campaigns.
- Corey needs to stop doing interviews on CNN and hostile liberal media. Talking to Fox News and maybe the “Washington Times” and “Wall Street Journal” is fine, but be choosy about which other media to talk to. That’s difficult for a media hound like Stewart, but will be necessary now.
- Start creating “Latinos for Stewart,” “Muslims for Stewart” “Blacks for Stewart” and empower these folks to speak to the media and at key voter forums.
- Definitely invite Trump to Virginia for a rally (preferably in SW Virginia), but don’t do what Ed Gillespie did and try to avoid him.
If Stewart manages to be competitive with Kaine in the polls, then the RNC Senate campaign may help him with aid but at this point, he is not getting any of their money and his chances of victory are nil. The reality is that even if EW Jackson or Nick Freitas won the nomination, they would be facing Tim Kaine’s $13 million war chest and an uphill battle.
Our failure to unite will mean we will be finger pointing again this Nov. 7 in Virginia and making calls for John Whitbeck and John Finley to resign from RPV. However, the No 1 “gift” we can give to the President is a GOP House. Failure to secure the House after 2018 means the potential for the Country to be embroiled on impeachment hearings and a slowing of the Trump agenda.
As the old saying goes, “It’s time for all good people to come to the aid of their party,” but Corey Stewart must do his part, too.