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Corey Stewart LG Run May Change PWC A Lot

By Greg L | 5 December 2011 | Virginia Politics, Prince William County | 14 Comments

It’s not quite official now, but pretty close: Corey Stewart is running for Lieutenant Governor.  That comes as little surprise.  This race will definitely change the political dynamic not only in Virginia, but Prince William County as well if he is successful, as he’s served at the top of Prince William County politics since 2006 and his departure would mean a lot of changes for us are in store.

In this race Stewart will likely face off against Keith Fimian, a Fairfax native who ran against Connolly twice, and Jeff McWaters, founder of the AmericGroup health care company and resident of Virginia Beach.  Stewart and Fimian share the same Northern Virginia base of support, while McWaters will have a chance to build a base of support in Hampton Roads without local competition.  All three are strong fundraisers, with McWaters able to self-fund his campaign more than the other two, but Stewart is the only one with elected experience and a record, and a pretty good one at that, as well as broader name ID across the Commonwealth.  It should be interesting to see how this plays out.

If Corey Stewart wins, that’s going to open up an opportunity to re-arrange the political structure in Prince William County and provide an opportunity for John Stirrup to jump back into elected office after losing his state senate bid, which would make a lot of conservative activists very happy.  What has pained conservative activists on the western end of Prince William County most is not that John Stirrup lost his primary bid, but that he won’t be in elected office on the Board of Supervisors or elsewhere where he can execute on his philosophy of small government, the rule of law, and conserving the rural character of the rural crescent.  An opportunity for him to run as Chairman in a special election to replace Corey Stewart is a gift to these folks, and they’re going to work hard for that.

There’s little chance Stirrup will have a clear shot in such a circumstance though.  Marty Nohe has been clearly ambitious for years, but managed to get outmaneuvered and frozen in some confusion when Stewart ran to replace Sean Connaughton in ‘06, and this is pretty much his last opportunity to go for higher office unless he wants to be Coles Supervisor for the rest of his life.  Caddigan and Covington are possibilities as well, although not highly likely ones.  None of them are likely to be able to quickly build a county-wide army of supporters like Stirrup would, but the non-conservative elements of the Board have chafed a bit under the conservative leadership of Stewart and Stirrup and might be motivated to take a shot at returning to something similar to the Connaughton days, just with a new face on it.  Back in ‘06 there was the “anybody but Corey” crowd lead by Nohe that was fortunately outmaneuvered, outwitted and outplayed.  They may try to come back, a little wiser after their debacle last time, but essentially with the same philosophy and intent.

Democrats will likely make a strong effort here as well, perhaps with someone better than the horrid candidates they’ve been running against Corey Stewart these past few cycles.  Their problem here is that their “bench” of potential is vanishingly weak and effectively devoid of qualified experience and they haven’t been able to make up that gap with money.  The only incumbent they could really run would be Frank Principi or perhaps Luke Torian, either of whom would be demolished on the western end of the county and likely not even run that strong elsewhere.  As a result Democrats will have little choice but to run a political neophyte as their nominee for the chairmanship of one of the largest localities in the state, and their record of doing so is abysmal.

For all this local re-arranging of the political structure to start happening Corey Stewart would have to win in his LG bid, and his chances at this point of receiving the nomination and winning in a general election seem pretty solid.  If Stewart runs strongly on his record of limited government, success in fostering economic recovery and combating illegal immigration he will be a formidable state-wide candidate with a unique story to tell voters that they will respond to.  Being first out of the gate helps, being the only candidate with a record to run on is a solid plus, and being a Northern Virginia based conservative is a proven winner in state-wide elections.

But it will be a long, hard road to Richmond in this race and anything can happen, especially since the political climate in 2013 is awfully hard to predict at this point.  With Fimian competing for support within Stewart’s base and McWaters potentially having an open field to run in with all his personal money in tidewater a primary is going to be a tough battle.  If Stewart survives the primary challenge, he likely will have an edge over a Democrat in a state-wide election as their state-wide candidate recruitment is only a little bit better than what the PWCDC has been doing in the county, and Democrats running state-wide haven’t been doing well lately.

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  1. Maureen said on 6 Dec 2011 at 5:25 am:
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    I hope John Stirrup will run for Chairman.

  2. Anonymous said on 6 Dec 2011 at 7:46 am:
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    You are ASSuming Chairman Stewart could win a statewide election. I don’t think so. We’ll have Corey four more years, not to worry. He’s not going anywhere.

  3. jbmarsh said on 6 Dec 2011 at 9:29 am:
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    Stirrup or May would be good choices for BOS Chair, and both are more conservative and more trustworthy than Stewart. They are the ones after all that fought Corey’s property tax increase this year. And throughout their careers, their positions have remained consistent, unlike Corey, who will take any position that gets him a interview on FoxNews, $1000 campaign contribution, or a free bottle of jagermeister (those who have seen corey get shitfaced in public know what I am talking about). I’m not sold that Corey can win a LG primary much less a general election. Running for state or federal offices is dramatically different that local government. These races require discipline…something Stewart clearly lacks. These 2013 primaries are going to be bloodbaths and fun to watch!

  4. Ronald said on 6 Dec 2011 at 10:03 am:
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    Doubt he wants it, but Paul Nichols would be a strong candidate for Chairman of the Board.

  5. Steve Thomas said on 6 Dec 2011 at 11:12 am:
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    Excellent analysis as usual. I would tend lean towards the Democrats running a “neophyte” or perhaps Dr. Lateef might take another run at it. Since Democrats are facing such strong political headwinds, those who have a boatspace now might be less inclined to want to roll-the-dice. Going to be interesting to watch, from over here in the City.

    In the case of the LG’s nomination contest, this will be an interesting contest indeed, especially watching how folks line up behind Fimian or Stewart.

    Looking forward to your pre-game analysis of the upcoming Manassas City convention.

  6. Badger said on 6 Dec 2011 at 12:28 pm:
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    I listened to Fimian debate… I listened to Stewart debate. I’ll take Stewart any day!

  7. Riley said on 6 Dec 2011 at 3:32 pm:
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    Stirrup and May are the two who immediately came to mind for me for County Chairman should Corey be elected LG.

  8. Mai Bad said on 6 Dec 2011 at 5:14 pm:
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    Hey Marsh..
    Who cares if Corey takes a drink. You a Mormon or a Baptist or something?

  9. Badger said on 6 Dec 2011 at 5:55 pm:
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    I find putting Stirrup and May in the same sentence a bit Odd.

  10. jbmarsh said on 6 Dec 2011 at 6:40 pm:
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    Mai Bad, it’s one think to have a couple drinks, its another to regularly get blasted publicly at events while an elected official.

    Badger…what is odd about that? May and Stirrup are the two most fiscally conservative board members. One of the two will have a good opportunity to primary Stewart after Fimian or McWaters or whoever else gets in the race shines the light on what a phony conservative Stewart is and gives Republicans in PWC and across Virginia a viable alternative. Running against Fimian or McWaters won’t be anything like running against Babur Lateef.

  11. Debra said on 6 Dec 2011 at 10:10 pm:
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    Badger, you clearly HAVEN’T heard Stewart debate. Don’t get me wrong, Fimian’s debate skills lack significantly, But Stewart would do himself a favor by taking some speech/debate lessons also.

  12. Harry said on 7 Dec 2011 at 2:40 pm:
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    Didn’t take long for Cuccinelli and Stewart to throw Bolling under the bus.

  13. Badger said on 7 Dec 2011 at 3:03 pm:
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    Debra… We’ll just have to disagree on this… I saw them both, Fimian d not come prepared. He lost. Stewart came loaded for bear. He won. Of course, I’ll “hold my vote” ’till I see the next round,

  14. Jackson McGuire said on 8 Dec 2011 at 11:35 am:
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    I think Jill Vogel ultimately gets in - she can raise the cash in spades and has the policy depth/energy

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