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Stewart enters race just a month after losing race for governor
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
WOODBRIDGE, Virginia (CFP) — Just a month after narrowly losing a Republican primary for Virginia governor, Corey Stewart started a new race against U.S. Senator Tim Kaine with an unapologetic vow to “run the most vicious, ruthless campaign” he can to unseat the Democratic incumbent.
“I’m going to go after him very, very hard,” said Stewart, who gained national prominence while serving as President Trump’s Virginia state chairman during the 2016 presidential campaign. “I think that Republicans have been playing by the Marquess of Queensberry rules for too long, and Democrats have been fighting a UFC fight.”
In his opening campaign salvo at his home in suburban Washington, D.C. on July 13, Stewart also made it clear that he would wrap himself in the Trump mantle in the Senate race, as he did in his unsuccessful race for governor.
“Tim Kaine is doing everything in his power to stop the president of the United States from making the economy great again, from bringing back jobs, from reforming health care and from making America great again,” he said, accusing Kaine of having a “blind hatred” for Trump that makes him “so focused on taking down the president of the United States that he is ignoring the true needs of Virginians and other Americans.”
However, Stewart didn’t stop with attacking Democrats. He began his announcement by saying how “disgusted” he had been by the 1989 inaugural address of President George H.W. Bush, a pillar of the GOP establishment.
“I was disgusted at the phrase kinder, gentler nation,” he said. “I knew right then that it was the end of the Reagan revolution.”
Stewart, 48, has been chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors since 2006. He was Trump’s state chairman in Virginia until a month before the 2016 election, when he was sacked after organizing a protest outside of Republican National Committee headquarters demanding that the GOP hierarchy not abandon Trump in the wake of the release of an audiotape in which Trump made lewd sexual comments.
In the June 13 GOP gubernatorial primary, Stewart nearly defeated former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, a one-time aide to President George W. Bush who had been seen as a presumptive favorite. Stewart said his surprisingly strong showing in that race, which he lost by only 4,500 votes, was part of the reason he decided to set his sights on unseating Kaine.
In the governor’s race, Stewart ran as an anti-establishment candidate and vowed to resist efforts to remove monuments honoring the Confederacy. He is not, however, a native Southerner, having been born in Minnesota.
Running as a Trump champion could be problematic in Virginia, which was the only Southern state Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.
Kaine — Clinton’s vice presidential running mate — also has a venerable political pedigree in the Old Dominion, having served as governor and lieutenant governor before being elected to the Senate in 2012. And no Republican has won a Senate race in the commonwealth since 2002.
Stewart’s vow of viciousness at the starting line drew a rebuke from Susan Swecker, chair of the Virginia Democratic Party, who called him “more extreme than Donald Trump.”
“Corey has completely ignored the needs of families in Prince William County to instead spend his time name calling, bashing immigrants and re-litigating the Civil War,” she said in a statement. “When he rarely turns his attention to the county he was elected to represent, he calls his colleagues ‘slimeballs’ and pushes an anti-immigrant, backwards agenda that has left working families behind.”
“The last thing Virginians need in the Senate is a rubber stamp for President Trump,” she said.
And before he gets to Kaine, Stewart will likely have to face down a primary challenge. Among the Republicans considering the race is Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard executive who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
Fiorina ran for the U.S. Senate in California in 2010 but later relocated to Virginia, where she had lived earlier in her business career.
Cruz looks to reignite campaign with early announcement of VP pick
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
INDIANAPOLIS (CFP) — U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has picked former Hewlett-Packard CEO and one-time rival Carly Fiorina as his vice presidential running mate in a bid to jump start his flagging campaign.
“Carly is brilliant and capable, and yet she experienced the hardscrabble world of being a woman professional in the business world that extracts a price,” Cruz told a rally in Indianapolis on April 27, where he rolled out his new ticket. “Over and over again, Carly has shattered glass ceilings.”
Conceding that selecting a running mate before clinching the nomination was “unusual,” he said he picked Fiorina because she can unite the GOP and because her selection would “give the American people a clear choice.”
In her debut as a vice presidential candidate, Fiorina described the campaign as “a fight for the soul of our party and the future of our nation.”
“I’ve had tough fights all my life. Tough fights don’t worry me. What matters is, is this fight worth having? And this is a fight worth having. This is a fight worth winning.”
Fiorina, 61, suspended her own presidential campaign in February after finishing in seventh place in the New Hampshire GOP primary. She later endorsed Cruz and has joined him on the campaign trail, where she has bonded with Cruz’s two young daughters.
In an odd moment during her debut, Fiorina went on to sing part of a song she made up for his daughters, which began, “I know two girls that I just adore. I’m so happy I can see them more.”
GOP front-runner Donald Trump ridiculed the selection of Fiorina, dismissing it as a “desperate attempt to save a failing campaign.”
The Fiorina pick marks the first time since 1976 that a presidential candidate has named a running mate prior to clinching the nomination. It came a day after Cruz was mathematically eliminated from capturing a delegate majority after getting wiped out in five primaries in the Northeast.
Cruz came in third behind both Trump and Ohio Governor John Kasich in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Rhode Island. He failed to crack 20 percent in any of those states and managed less than 11 percent in Rhode Island.
The only state where Cruz didn’t finish dead last was Pennsylvania, where he took 22 percent of the vote and edged out Kasich for second place. Trump won all five primaries up for grabs in the April 26 vote.
Cruz, the last Southerner left in the presidential race, will now head to Indiana, which is increasingly seen as a must-win for the senator to stop Trump from getting to a delegate majority, triggering a contested convention. Indiana votes May 3.
A contested convention is now Cruz’s only path to the GOP nomination. With his losses in the Northeast, he has 562 delegates and would need 675 to secure a majority in Cleveland; however, there are only 616 delegates still outstanding.
With his victories in the Northeast, Trump has 954 pledged delegates. He needs to win just 283 more delegates to secure the nomination, or about 46 percent of the delegates remaining.