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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

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.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.