The Virginia Republican Party is struggling with a problem that isn’t unique to many across the country: the alt-right.
A New York Times profile of Corey Stewart detailed the way in which white nationalists have fallen for the senate candidate.
Stewart paints himself as a champion of the fallen Confederacy and defends statues of its leaders. He even called for Virginians to “take back our heritage.” It has prompted white supremacists to flock to supporting Stewart’s campaign. While he has disavowed some, others have been welcomed as volunteers for the campaign. There’s also a history of aides and staff posting racist language and conspiracy theories.
“The alt-right has taken over the Virginia Republican Party,” Kenney told The Times. He’s not the first to make the observation. After Stewart won the GOP nomination, state party chair John Whitbeck resigned because he didn’t want to have anything to do with his party’s candidate.
“I don’t have a racist bone in my body,” Stewart said during a speech. “Not one. I challenge anybody to find a single racist statement that I’ve ever made.”
It’s causing a rift in the Republican Party, however, as candidates are being made to answer whether they support or oppose Stewart as part of their party.
“Controversy is not necessarily a bad thing, because it does give you more media attention and that’s necessary, especially when you’re in a position like mine,” said Stewart. “I can’t self-finance my race. And I don’t have the support of the establishment. So I have to be my own guy.”
The candidate faces an uphill battle, lagging behind Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) in both fundraising and the polls.