Senate GOP Campaign Arm Won’t Endorse Stewart

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Thomas Phippen Thomas Phippen is acting editor in chief at the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, chairman of the Republican Party’s Senate campaign arm, says the committee does not plan to support Corey Stewart, the winner of the GOP’s nomination in the Virginia Senate race.

“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 on the map,” Gardner told reporters Wednesday, Politico reported. “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,” he repeated.

President Donald Trump fired Stewart, then-director of Trump’s Virginia efforts, from his campaign in October 2016 for his role in promoting an anti-establishment rally in front of the Republican National Committee’s Washington, D.C., office without the campaign’s approval. (RELATED: Fired Trump Staffer Wins GOP Senate Primary)

After Stewart won the nomination with 44.8 percent of the vote — just over one percent higher than the runner-up — Trump tweeted out his endorsement for the man who will challenge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s former vice presidential running mate and current Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine.

“Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia,” Trump’s tweet said. “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!”

Stewart has drawn criticism nationally for his past support of Paul Nehlen, a self-described “pro-white” candidate for Congress in Wisconsin, and Jason Kessler, one of the organizers of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Stewart has disavowed any association with those two figures, saying he was unaware of their radical views. Even without that political baggage, Stewart has a difficult road ahead to unseat Kaine, who had a 45 percent approval rating in a Morning Consult survey conducted in January.

A spokesman for Stewart’s campaign refused to provide comment to The Daily Caller News Foundation. The National Republican Senatorial Committee did not immediately return TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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