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Corey Stewart in Virginia primary debate: McConnell should resign over spending bill

April 19, 2018

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Corey Stewart on Thursday said that not only would he have voted against last month’s $1.3 trillion spending bill he would have called for the resignation of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over what he called “Chuck Schumer’s bill.”

“It was Chuck Schumer’s bill, and was put there by Republicans,” Mr. Stewart, one of three candidates seeking the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Virginia, said at a Republican debate at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

“Not only would I have voted against that bill, but I also would have called for the resignation of Mitch McConnell,” he said. “He has been there too long. He’s done too little. He [refuses] to support the president’s ‘America first’ agenda, and that is what I’m going to do.”

State Del. Nick Freitas likewise said that leadership change is “desperately needed” in Congress.

A combat veteran, Mr. Freitas also said he understands why more money was needed for national defense but that he was tired of lawmakers using the military as a “political prop” for their own ends.

Chesapeake Bishop E.W. Jackson, the third Republican candidate in the race, said part of the problem is that entrenched politicians become more interested in furthering their careers instead of the interests of “we the people.”

The candidates are vying for the chance to square off against incumbent Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, who is seeking a second term in the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, has become associated with the crackdown on illegal immigration he helped pass in his county in 2007.

He surprised many in the commonwealth’s political establishment by coming within about a percentage point of defeating 2017 GOP gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie in a Republican primary last year.

He also served as the Virginia chairman for President Trump’s campaign in 2016, but was fired a month before the election after participating in an anti-establishment protest outside the Republican National Committee’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. a move he said demonstrated his loyalty to Mr. Trump.

Mr. Freitas, from Culpeper, has secured endorsements from several high-profile conservatives, including Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee. He’s also attracted significant attention for a pro-gun rights speech he gave on the state House floor several weeks after the Parkland, Fla. school shooting.

Mr. Jackson was the GOP’s nominee for lieutenant governor in 2013, losing in the general election to current Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

The GOP primary election this year is on June 12th.

A survey released in early March gave Mr. Stewart the edge, but showed that two-thirds of GOP voters were still undecided.

Mr. Stewart was at 16 percent support, Mr. Jackson was at 7 percent, and Mr. Freitas was at 6 percent, according to the poll from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

In head-to-head match-ups, all three Republicans trailed Mr. Kaine by more than 20 points in the poll.

Mr. Kaine, the 2016 Democratic vice presidential nominee, was also governor of Virginia from 2006-2010 and served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009-2011.