Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart said that he’s coming up against a new enemy in his primary race against Ed Gillespie: the anarchist left-wing protest group known as Antifa.
Stewart, 48, is the At-Large Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, and served as the Trump campaign’s Virginia state director until October 10, when he was immediately fired for setting up a protest outside the RNC during a bleak point in Trump-RNC relations (the RNC was trying to knock Trump off the ticket after the “Access Hollywood” Billy Bush scandal promoted by establishment Republicans).
Stewart is running against Gillespie, the Republican National Committee chairman during the George W. Bush administration. Stewart is hammering Gillespie on the issues of immigration and taxes, accusing Gillespie of supporting the Gang of 8 amnesty bill and of being a former Enron lobbyist. Stewart presents evidence that Gillespie did not ever make a single pro-Trump statement on social media during the election against Hillary Clinton. Stewart, the challenger, is rising in the polls. His campaign manager Spence Rogers is widely credited with Ted Cruz’s Iowa caucus win last January. Pro-Lifers for Corey Stewart is the campaign’s biggest and most organized coalition. Stewart points to a Quinnipiac poll showing him down 27-19 with more than 50 percent undecided. The primary is on June 13.
“They’ve been coming after us pretty hard,” Stewart told Big League Politics, referring to the Gillespie campaign. Gillespie has been going after Stewart’s donors to dissuade them from giving money to Stewart, according to Stewart. Primary-season rivalries between the grassroots Right and the Establishment GOP have been raging since the beginning of the tea party. But this is the first time a Republican primary race been significantly altered by the presence of a new factor: the left-wing anarchist protest movement Antifa. These are the professional agitators who –using various different names and identities — planned and carried out the violent riots at the University of California at Berkeley.
Left-wing pressure groups including Black Lives Matter and Indivisible latched onto the Stewart campaign as soon as Stewart confronted the issue of the removal of Confederate statues, which is happening all over the South including in New Orleans. Antifa came soon after, and tensions are now running high.
“I went down to Charlotesvile to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee that has been there since 1924. I was down there with a black conservative activist named Thaddeus Dionne Alexander,” who achieved more than one million Facebook shares on a single video commentary two days after Trump’s election. “We were protested and met by Black lives matter and other groups. The Indivisible crowd came there, to the immigration rally in Richmond. They were very aggressive. The police arrested a couple people. We’ve had protesters around the state at 5 or 6 different places,” Stewart said.
“I wouldn’t call myself a Confederate sympathizer, but I certainly don’t think people should be ashamed of celebrating their heritage. I celebrate my Scottish heritage and if somebody wants to celebrate their Confederate ancestry I see nothing wrong with that. The Left is trying to intimidate Southerners,” he said.
“We had a rally in Harrisburg. When the Indivisible crowd found out about that they contacted the restaurant and said they were going to boycott the restaurant, so the restaurant backed off and they pulled the venue from us. Then we found a second location, and they did the same thing [at Woodfire Grill] and called the corporate office to shut it down. We had to hold our rally on the steps of the courthouse in Harrisburg, which of course we were able to do because it is public property.”
Conservative talk radio host Rob Schilling has been infiltrating the protest groups attacking Stewart. Schilling sends in undercover republican operatives in Black Lives Matter and Women’s March T-shirts in order to identify the protest leaders, according to Stewart. Schilling did not provide comment for this article. Schilling documented how agitators drown out Stewart’s speech when he talks to voters in public. The protesters in this video are not Antifa, but Schilling has identified Antifa as being present at other Corey Stewart events.
Stewart said that he is not backing down in the face of the Republican Establishment/Lefty Anarchist alliance.
“Even if I hadn’t been part of the Trump campaign, this is my style of campaigning,” he said. “If I win, this is going to be an indicator of where the party is going. Will the party embrace the Trump New Republicans or go with the Establishment?”
“But I am my own man, I believed in cracking down on illegal immigration and protecting the American working class BEFORE Trump started running for president,” Stewart said, noting that he did not vote for Jared Kushner.