Three Virginia Republicans Running For Senate Use Different Tactics To Chase Trump Base

The three Virginia Republicans vying to square off against Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine have taken three distinct approaches to mobilizing the state’s pro-Trump Republican base ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart has billed himself as the only true pro-Trump candidate, saying people want a “Republican with balls” and launching attention-grabbing stunts such as waving toilet paper outside the state Capitol to criticize fellow Republicans.

State Delegate Nick Freitas has been more muted, saying he supports key aspects of the president’s agenda but that senators don’t sign a “loyalty oath,” and that he is the candidate who can be trusted to advocate for reducing the size and scope of government.

Chesapeake Bishop E.W. Jackson, the only black candidate in the race, said his background can pull together the broad coalition that will be needed to deliver Republicans their first statewide election win in an increasingly diverse Virginia in nearly a decade.

Polling has shown a good number of voters are still undecided, but Mr. Stewart — who nearly won the Republican nomination for governor last year over Republican nominee Ed Gillespie — has led Mr. Freitas and Mr. Jackson in terms of name identification, which could be critical in a potentially low-turnout primary contest Tuesday.

Republicans will also have to overcome a rabid anti-Trump fervor in the Democratic base — which helped propel Ralph Northam over Mr. Gillespie in the governor’s race last year and a number of Democrats in statehouse races — if they want to pick up their first win in a major statewide race since 2009.

“This is no longer a purple state,” said Republican Party strategist Ford O’Connell. “[Mr. Kaine‘s] definitely sitting in the catbird seat.”

Read more from David Sherfinski at the Washington Times

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