Politics

Republican Corey Stewart Will Challenge Sen. Tim Kaine in Virginia

Former gubernatorial hopeful narrowly wins the three-way Senate primary

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is running for a second Senate term this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Corey Stewart won the Republican nomination for Senate in Virginia on Tuesday night, setting up a long-shot contest against Democratic incumbent Tim Kaine.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Stewart, the chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, led a three-way GOP field with 45 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race. State Del. Nick Freitas was in second with 43 percent. 

Kaine was unopposed in the Democratic primary. 

Stewart narrowly lost the GOP gubernatorial nomination last year and has been running a similarly controversial campaign again, which could cause headaches for other Republicans running in the state this fall.

The Kaine campaign called Stewart a "cruder imitation of Donald Trump" Tuesday night.

"A cruder imitation of Donald Trump who stokes white supremacy and brags about being 'ruthless and vicious,' Corey Stewart would be an embarrassment for Virginia in the U.S. Senate, where he would eliminate health care for millions of Americans and slash public education funding," communications director Ian Sams said in a statement. 

Hillary Clinton carried Virginia by about 5 points in 2016, when Kaine was her running mate. The first-term senator previously served as the Old Dominion’s governor and lieutenant governor.

He starts the race with a strong financial advantage. He ended the pre-primary reporting period with $10.7 million compared to Stewart’s $161,000. Inside Elections rates the race Solid Democratic.

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