Corey Stewart won’t contest GOP gubernatorial primary

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Corey Stewart, the chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, told WTVR CBS 6 he will not contest the results of Tuesday’s Republican Gubernatorial primary. Stewart, who polls showed as an underdog heading into Tuesday, lost the nomination to Ed Gillespie by 1.2 percent points, or a little more than 4,600 votes statewide. Under Virginia election law, a losing candidate can only request a recount if the difference is less than 1 percentage point.

Stewart ran on a platform considered hardline by many political observers, taking somewhat controversial stances like protection of Confederate monuments and eliminating sanctuary cities. In 2016, Stewart was the chair of Donald Trump’s Virginia campaign, before getting fired for staging an unauthorized protest of the Republican National Committee.

Stewart told WTVR CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns via Skype, he cannot yet tell the primary voters who supported him to vote Gillespie in November.

“The real question for Ed, is he going to support my supporters?” Stewart said. “If Ed stands up and takes hard positions on defending Virginia’s history, takes a hard position on defending life, takes a hard position on spending and cutting taxes and taking back the state, and supporting our President, then he’ll win them over.”

Stewart said he is proud of the campaign he ran, and added it shows a local politician can jump directly to the highest office in Virginia.

Gilliespie, a former advisor to President George W. Bush and former RNC chairman, will face Lt. Governor Ralph Northam in November. Tuesday night during their acceptance speeches, both men promised to unify their parties and to be the governor for all Virginians, regardless of political affiliation, if elected.

Northam defeated former congressman Tom Perriello by more than 10 points to win the democratic nomination.

More democrats voted in Tuesday’s primary election than Republicans, with 542, 607 ballots cast in the Democratic primary and 366, 248 votes cast in the Republican contest. Both were much higher than the last time the party held a gubernatorial primary.