NRSC refuses to endorse or support Corey Stewart's Senate bid
National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman Cory Gardner announced that the official campaign arm of Republicans in the Senate will not endorse Virginia's controversial Senate nominee, Corey Stewart, nor will it give the candidate any funds.
Gardner's decision is a break with President Trump, who tweeted his congratulations to Stewart on Wednesday morning.
"Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia. Now he runs against a total stiff, Tim Kaine, who is weak on crime and borders, and wants to raise your taxes through the roof. Don't underestimate Corey, a major chance of winning!" Trump wrote on Twitter. ...
Following his win Tuesday, Stewart is now set to face off against Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) in November.
Stewart, who was endorsed by white supremacist Jason Kessler (support he disavowed) and Paul Nehlen, who gained fame as a challenger to Speaker Paul Ryan and is known for posting racist and anti-Semitic tweets, made a name for himself defending Confederate monuments from being torn down. He fancies himself a Trump mini-me – insulting his opponents and making wild, unsubstantiated claims.
Senate Republicans are at a loss about how to deal with his candidacy.
"At the senatorial committee we're focusing on Missouri, Indiana, North Dakota, Montana, West Virginia and Florida. There are great races around the country. [Virginia] is not the map," said National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory Gardner (R-Colo.). "We have a big map this year, and what I've laid out in races that I've talked about, Virginia's not on it."
"Sometimes in the primary process, the thing we try and get done is get the most electable candidate on the ballot in the fall. And that doesn't always happen," conceded Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 3 GOP leader.
And Thune, like other Republicans expressed ignorance of Stewart despite his affinity for earning press with stunts like protesting outside the RNC in 2016, which got him ousted from Trump's official campaign apparatus. Stewart also drew criticism for refusing to condemn white nationalists after last year's violent rally in Charlottesville.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), said he has "no idea who he is. Not at all."
See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil.
Pretending they don't know what Stewart is all about won't save them. Stewart, by himself, is a target-rich environment. Kaine will have so many lines of attack that he won't know what to do.
If he's smart, he will ignore him. Stewart doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of beating Kaine, and the NRSC knows it, which is why it won't spend a dime in Virginia. But Stewart has tarred the GOP as the party of white supremacists, and the damage has already been done.
Drew Belsky adds: Once upon a time, Donald Trump also "tarred the GOP as the party of white supremacists," and we all know how that turned out.
Having stuck us multiple times with perennial second-placer and former RNC chair (!) Ed Gillespie (beaten by Mark Warner for the Senate and then by Ralph Northam for the governorship), the GOP solons running strategy for Virginia are pretty low on credibility. I'm open to voting for Stewart, and hand-wringing from the likes of Gardner and Thune only makes me more open.