RICHMOND, Va. — The Latest on the Virginia primary elections for governor(all times local):
Virginia Republican Corey Stewart says he may run for U.S. Senate next year after his surprisingly strong showing in the GOP primary for governor.
The former state campaign chairman for President Donald Trump said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press that his near-victory over former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie showed there’s strong interest in his brand of confrontational politics.
His remarks came as Republicans and Democrats alike are calling for unity and civil discourse, despite their political disagreements, after a gunman opened fire on several Republican congressmen during their baseball practice.
Stewart said the harmful rhetoric is coming from Democrats and conservatives need to push back. He said he plans to take a break for a few weeks before deciding on his political future, which could include trying to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine in next year’s senate contest.
Stewart said he will vote for the Republican ticket in this year’s elections, but won’t actively support Gillespie unless he becomes a “fighter” for Trump and against illegal immigration and the removal of Confederate statues.
President Donald Trump had an outsized effect on Virginia’s primary contests for governor, but not in the ways most people expected.
Democratic voters were energized in opposition to Trump and turned out in higher-than-expected numbers Tuesday. But the majority was happy to back the more moderate and establishment-favored Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam over a liberal insurgent who sought to portray his candidacy as the tip of the spear of the anti-Trump resistance.
The biggest surprise was on the Republican side, where a well-connected frontrunner who has kept his distance from Trump squeaked out an uncomfortably close victory against a staunch Trump supporter who many viewed as a fringe candidate. Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie barely beat Corey Stewart, who focused his gubernatorial bid on preserving Virginia’s Confederate history.