GOP challengers for Va. US Senate seat announced

WASHINGTON — The Republican Party of Virginia has announced who will appear on its primary ballot for the U.S. Senate.

The list includes three men who will participate in the GOP primary on June 12, with the winner challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine.

Among those on the list is Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, who recently ran for ran for governor of the commonwealth. From Culpeper, Del. Nick Freitas also was able to garner the signatures needed to get on the ballots. The third candidate is a minister and attorney E.W. Jackson who was the GOP’s nominee for lieutenant governor in 2013.

John Whitbeck, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, said he congratulates the three candidates on making the cut.

“Getting on the ballot in Virginia is very difficult. You have to get 10,000 signatures, which is actually double what you have to get to get on the presidential ballot,” Whitbeck said.

In 2017, Republicans lost the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general races, and narrowly kept the control of the House of Delegates after one race was decided by the pulling of a name from a hat.

Whitbeck said the GOP will have to unite with the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate and White House to achieve victory this November.

“Democrats showed a lot of enthusiasm in 2017. We’re going to have to counter that with increased numbers. We can’t run by the old playbook that we’ve always run by,” Whitbeck said.

Whitbeck said he believes the big issues will be the economy and the military, and that those issues will be what brings Republicans out to the polls.

A survey released on March 5 from Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Public Policy shows it will be an uphill battle for Republicans. Tim Kaine holds a 53-percent favorability rating and has a 20-point lead on potential lead of his Republican challengers.

Among the Republican field, Stewart led the pack with the backing of 16 percent of primary voters. The poll found Jackson with 7 percent of the vote and Freitas with 6 percent.

Two-thirds of Virginia Republican voters remain undecided, according to the survey.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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