GOP Fears Primary Fight Will Ruin Va. Senate Chances

Repost from The Hill

Virginia Republicans lack a consensus frontrunner to take on Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), setting the stage for a brutal primary where the top contenders are likely to run hard to the right.

Republicans fear that the campaigns of two controversial figures — minister E.W. Jackson and frontrunner Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors — will wind up alienating moderates and squandering any long hopes Republicans had of winning in a state that’s increasingly trending blue.

And even if state Delegate Nick Freitas is able to catch fire, most Republicans and analysts don’t think he’ll have a real shot against Kaine, either.

Freitas, the state delegate, made a speech recently opposing gun control that’s gone viral on the right. As of Thursday, it had more than 16 million views on Facebook.

Republicans described Freitas as a long-shot candidate with an intriguing profile. Freitas is a former Army Special Forces sergeant who served in Iraq, and he has the backing of Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

“Freitas is a dark horse. If he catches lightning in a bottle — he’s different, he’s new, he’s fresh. There just might be enough people tiring of Corey Stewart,” said John Fredericks, a conservative Virginia radio host who served with Stewart as co-chairmen of Trump’s Virginia effort.

“In order for Freitas to close the gap, Freitas is going to have to go on offense. When he attacks Corey, if he attacks him with an arrow, Corey is going to fire back with a bazooka.”

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