Republican Corey Stewart condemned Ed Gillespie's failed gubernatorial bid, demanding the resignation of the Virginia GOP state party chairman in the wake of Republican losses on Tuesday. Stewart serves on the board of supervisors of Prince William County. He said that Tuesday was a "tremendous loss for the Republican Party."
Stewart said that Tuesday saw the Republicans' "house burning down," but added that it offers "an opportunity to build a new home." He demanded that John Whitbeck resign as Virginia Republican Party Chairman. Stewart, who unsuccessfully ran against Sen. Tim Kaine (D), also criticized Gillespie's campaign, saying "Ed treated the president like he had typhoid." He said that voter turnout declined in areas such as Interstate 81 and US-11, which had supported Trump. Stewart said Gillespie did not do enough to persuade Trump supporters or even Stewart’s base in the Old Dominion.
Stewart noted that State Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Winchester), who ran for lieutenant governor, received more votes than Gillespie. Besides the governorship, Virginia’s Republicans lost a dozen seats in the state legislature, as well as the races for lieutenant governor and Commonwealth attorney general.
Stewart pointed out that turnout for Vogel proved that Trump supporters were not swayed to support Gillespie over a lack of proximity to President Trump. Dismissing claims that Gillespie’s loss was a so-called “referendum on Trump," Stewart said that it would have been so if Gillespie had been closer to the president. Stewart also placed most of the blame on the "establishment" wing of the Republican Party. During the 2016 campaign, Stewart served as Trump’s Virginia co-chair but was dismissed after protesting in front of the Republican Party’s headquarters in Washington for what he called the establishment GOP "sabotage" of Trump.
At his Wednesday press conference, Stewart said that Gillespie was an "Establishment candidate who had no message, who refused to embrace the President of the United States, who ridiculed the supporters of the President of the United States, and just was unable to inspire voters, including the Republican base, to the polls." It was as a result, Stewart said, that the entire Republican ticket went down on Tuesday.