Corey Stewart is a lawyer and chairman of the Prince William County board of supervisors, and served as Virginia chairman for the Trump presidential campaign. On June 13, Stewart will face off in the Virginia gubernatorial primary against Ed Gillespie, a veteran Republican strategist and, according to Stewart, a “cuckservative.”
Stewart’s running-mate for lieutenant governor is Virginia State Senator Bryce Reeves, a former narcotics and vice detective. On Wednesday, Reeves’ campaign put out this bonkers ad:
The ad, titled “Safety,” is only 30 seconds long, but I have so many questions about it. Why are the kids playing with the soccer ball at the base of the driveway, when there’s a perfectly good lawn steps away? What exactly are the mysterious men in camouflage doing? And why are they wearing balaclavas that seem to cover their eyes?
“This is the america Obama left behind,” Reeves intones as a pretty blonde mother looks up in fear. “Terrorists living here. FBI investigating ISIS nationwide, frightening families.”
The dolly zoom effect brings to mind this scene in Jaws:
Reeves was previously seen visiting staffers camped outside the Virginia Board of Elections in the cold for 63 hours. The campaign thought that the tactic would ensure that Reeves’ name would be placed at the top of the primary ballot.
Outfitted with lawn chairs and sleeping bags, Reeves’s staffers began their wait outside the board’s downtown Richmond offices Friday, despite lows in the 20s.
The campaign then learned that ballot placement was determined by lottery, making the entire stunt pointless.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Matt Gruda, Reeves’s political director. “There were four or five of us actually stationed outside, a lot of friendly people bringing us food, drinks, coffee, hot chocolate.”
I bet it was, Matt.
The Stewart and Reeves campaigns in general are emblematic of everything stupid and reprehensible about Republican politics in the Trump era. When a member of Virginia’s Republican State Central Committee called Islam a “death cult organized by Satan,” and called District Judge Gonzalo Curiel (who was born in the U.S.) an “anchor baby,” Stewart defended him.
Stewart, whose campaign slogan might as well be “the South will rise again,” has called Robert E. Lee “a hero and an honorable man” and compared those who want to remove Confederate monuments to terrorists. Stewart’s apologia for Confederate figureheads led even some of his allies to pull their endorsements.
Stewart—who, by the way, was born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota—has continued to express his strongly held beliefs on the removal of Confederate monuments from public places:
(Astute observers have pointed out that, in fact, some things are worse than that.)
In this instance, Stewart was mad that New Orleans city council voted to remove the Liberty Monument, which was erected in 1891 to commemorate a battle in which “the Democratic-Conservative White League attacked the Republican Metropolitan Police for control of the city and to put an end to Reconstruction in Louisiana.” In 1932—if the purpose of the statue wasn’t clear enough already—city officials added the following inscriptions to the monument: “United States troops took over the state government and reinstated the usurpers but the national election of November 1876 recognized white supremacy in the South and gave us our state.”
Hmm, I wonder if there’s something motivating Stewart and Reeves beyond concern for citizens’ safety and reverence for historical artifacts?
Can’t wait to see how the rest of this race plays out!