A Trump-Loving Confederate Sympathizer Nearly Pulled Off a Huge Upset in Virginia

Ed Gillespie narrowly defeats Corey Stewart in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Civil War re-enactors (above). Corey Stewart (not pictured) stoked controversy in the Virginia GOP primary by opposing the removal or Confederate monuments.m01229/Flickr

And that’s why they call it the Lost Cause.

Corey Stewart, a Minnesota-born lawyer with a soft spot for the Confederacy, nearly pulled off a stunning upset in Tuesday’s Republican primary for governor of Virginia. But lobbyist and former  former Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie, the party’s 2014 nominee for US Senate, held on by the narrowest of margins. With 99 percent of precincts reporting Gillespie just barely ahead of the one-percent threshold needed to avoid a recount.

Stewart had been a co-chair of President Donald Trump’s Virginia campaign. He struggled to gain traction through most of the gubernatorial raced but seized on the removal of Confederate and white-supremacist monuments in New Orleans this spring, promising to protect Virginia’s Confederate statues if he was elected governor.

It almost worked. By the end of the campaign, “Establishment Ed” was likewise reportedly running digital ads talking up his support for the monuments.

Gillespie will face Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in November, in what is likely to be the most-watched contest of the 2017 election season. He’ll have his work cut for him; Democratic turnout exceeded Republican turnout in Tuesday’s primary by roughly 150,000 votes.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.