The National Rifle Association has rebuffed the voluble Corey Stewart and instead endorsed one of his opponents, Del. Nick Freitas, for the GOP nomination to oppose Sen. Tim Kaine.
Stewart has long made guns and immigration the central points of his campaigns. When he ran in the gubernatorial primary last year, he raffled off an AR-15 assault rifle to underscore his opposition to the state requirement that citizens obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
The NRA endorsement was not entirely a surprise, however. First, Freitas holds an A+ rating on guns from the NRA. Second, the GOP establishment appears to fear that Stewart as the nominee would drive away many voters. Most of the GOP leadership is lining up behind Freitas. The establishment is largely ignoring the third candidate in the race, clergyman E.W. Jackson, who won the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor in 2013 only to be buried in November by Ralph Northam.
Two of the three candidates—with Stewart absent-- met in another debate April 30 in Virginia Beach where The Virginian-Pilot kept score and reported that they never even mentioned Kaine. It said they spent most of the time bashing Prescient Obama, who became a private citizen 15 months earlier.
Both men lauded the recent tax bill, though Freitas said he wanted to go further and abolish the income tax entirely, replacing it with a federal sales tax.