Corey Stewart has a little advice for the guy who was supposed to crush him in the GOP primary for Virginia governor.
“Ed, if you’re listening to this: Nobody cares that your dad owned a grocery store. Nobody cares that your ancestors were immigrants,” Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and at one time chair of Donald Trump’s Virginia campaign, said in an interview with The Washington Post.“Nobody cares about that because everybody in that room has a similar story. I haven’t met any person who has been inspired by Ed’s story of growing up in a grocery store.”
The “Ed” in question is Ed Gillespie, the former lobbyist and Republican National Committee chairman whose stump speech includes a bit of his up-by-the-bootstraps biography.
Gillespie had been expected to win Virginia’s June 13 gubernatorial primary in a blow-out. It turned out to be a nail-biter, with Gillespie edging out Stewart by a measly 1.2 percentage points.
In his first sit-down with the Post since the primary, Stewart said this week that he has no regrets about the provocative, Confederate-centric campaign strategy that had led political observers to write him off as a fringe candidate. The approach, he noted, earned him tons of free media attention and nearly propelled him to victory against a much better-funded rival.
“We deliberately were, at times, more controversial in order to attract mainstream media, in order to attract earned media,” he said during an hour-long interview Tuesday afternoon at his county office.
He said he might pick a different issue to hammer if he challenges Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) next year. But he’ll definitely stick with the hard-hitting, attention-grabbing approach.
Stewart said he hasn’t spoken to Gillespie since the primary, and hasn’t endorsed him, but does plan to vote for him.
He had loads of free advice for the nominee, who he called “boring” and lacking in passion.
Along with the grocery-store bio, Stewart says Gillespie should ditch the “dorky Mister Rogers” sweater that is a staple of his campaign ads.
“If you don’t have the passion, your followers will not have the passion, and that’s his challenge,” Stewart said. “You have to juice it up somehow. He’s going to have to make it a little more stimulating. When you look at one of Ed’s speeches, it’s boring. It doesn’t really hit the heart.”
Team Gillespie took the advice in stride. “Ed gets a lot of campaign advice from people and is always open to new ideas,” said Gillespie spokesman David Abrams.
If it is any consolation for the GOP nominee and his backers, Stewart was just as harsh toward the Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam.
“Northam,” Stewart declared, “is as boring as the bottom of my shoe.”