U.S. Senate hopeful Corey R. Stewart attacked fellow Republicans on Tuesday as “flaccid, soft and weak” days after the GOP-controlled House of Delegates began to pursue Medicaid expansion after years of opposition.
Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, is the most well known of five Republicans seeking the party’s nomination to challenge Sen. Tim Kaine. He gained a statewide following last year when he almost defeated Ed Gillespie for the Republican nomination for governor.
The other candidates are evangelical pastor E.W. Jackson; Bert Mizusawa, a retired major general in the U.S. Army Reserve and foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign; two-term state Del. Nicholas J. “Nick” Freitas (R-Culpepper); and political newcomer Ivan Raiklin.
After steadily rejecting Medicaid expansion, a House committee Sunday advanced a spending plan that would cover 300,000 low-income Virginians on the condition that recipients seek job training and pay into their coverage.
With the about-face, House Speaker M. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights) acknowledged the political reality in a chamber where Democrats flipped 15 seats last fall and reduced the GOP majority.
The subject line of a news release from Stewart’s campaign read, “Flaccid, Soft, Weak Republicans in House of Delegates Caved, Should Be Removed.”
“House Republicans are flimsier than toilet paper, except toilet paper actually has use,” Stewart said in a statement. “They’re so pathetic. It is time to get rough and remove these weak Republicans from office.”
The heated rhetoric is consistent with Stewart’s style throughout his political career and echoes the tone of President Trump, with whom he has allied himself despite being fired as Trump’s Virginia campaign chair.
Although Virginia has consistently voted for Democrats statewide since 2010, including Hillary Clinton for president and Ralph Northam for governor, Stewart is betting his approach will motivate Republicans to deliver him the nomination.
He did not mention Freitas — the only one of his Senate opponents in the General Assembly — by name, but blamed House Republicans serving in Richmond.
“Many Virginia Republicans would rather work with Democrats to assist the Kaine-Clinton-McAuliffe agenda than work with a conservative like me to block Obamacare’s failed legacy in Virginia,” Stewart said.
Freitas has not publicly commented on the current House budget.
“Expand Medicaid in VA ... because we should really be the ones to take the first step to bankrupt the commonwealth! #sarcasm,” he tweeted.