The Corner

Elections

Let’s Not Make the Corey Stewart Mistake Again

Virginia Republican senatorial candidate Corey Stewart speaks to voters at a campaign event in Annandale, Va., October 30, 2018. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Virginia’s Senate election did not take long to resolve. Incumbent Democrat Tim Kaine was declared the winner over Corey Stewart immediately after 7 p.m. Eastern.

As three Virginia Republicans hold their breath about the outcomes of the House elections — incumbents Barbara Comstock and Dave Brat, and challenger Denver Riggleman — some will wonder if the party partially set its fate in the June 12 primary. If Nick Freitas or even E. W. Jackson had won the GOP nomination for Senate, maybe the Virginia Democratic party would have at least had to expend some resources protecting Kaine.

Turnout in northern Virginia is huge, which is generally good news for Democrats. As of 4 p.m., Alexandria was almost at 58 percent, Arlington County was at 50 percent and with absentees and stragglers could hit 70 percent; Falls Church was at 68 percent, and Fairfax was at about 53 percent.

(Some Virginia Republicans told me that Stewart ended up being less of a drag than expected. The Senate race became an afterthought, and Stewart’s controversial remarks never quite dominated the discussion the way some in the party feared.)

President Trump’s presence in the White House is turning the state from blue to cobalt. He isn’t going to change, and he doesn’t need to win Virginia to win reelection. But Virginia Republicans do want to win the House of Delegates elections in 2019 and the state’s Senate race in 2020. The pratfall of Corey Stewart tonight should bury the idea that more “Trumpified” Virginia GOP candidates could seriously compete statewide.

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