Duluth’s Confederate Yankee Corey Stewart rides again in Virginia Senate race

Corey Stewart is still battling the War of Northern Aggression, while downplaying that whole slavery thing.

Corey Stewart is still battling the War of Northern Aggression, while downplaying that whole slavery thing. Associated Press

Corey Stewart is a Minnesota transplant -- a Duluth native and William Mitchell law school graduate who headed to Virginia to serve on two political bodies: the Prince William County Board and the Donald Trump presidential campaign.

He’s also a neo-Confederate -- a kind of ideology that lives in a Stranger Things Upside Down where the Civil War is referred to as “The War of Northern Aggression,” Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was a “good and honorable and noble man,” and southerners fought for states’ rights rather than slavery.

It’s the kind of mindset that has one attending “Old South” themed galas, defending Confederate monuments, and using the word “Yankee” as a slur. Though, as a Duluth native, he is, technically, a Yankee. But still.

Apparently it’s been working out for him. Last year, Stewart almost bagged the Republican gubernatorial nomination, even as his openness about being a Confederate flaghead earned him condemnations from his own party -- and his fellow Prince William County supervisors. He managed to come within one percentage point of his primary rival, Ed Gillespie.

He still managed to get further than anyone thought he would. The near miss was chalked up to another example of the anti-establishment politics that analysts attribute to the rise of Trump. It was around that time that he started floating the idea of running against Virginia’s Democratic senator, Tim Kaine.

That’s just what he did, and his hyper conservative politics are going gangbusters. He’s considered the GOP frontrunner in the Virginia Senate race. There’s less mention now of the Confederacy, but Stewart is still operating on an “us vs. them” basis with himself positioned “with President Trump,” opposing “political correctness,” “illegal immigration,” and the “Washington elites,” according to his website.

And the language of his campaign remains… colorful.

His two main populist planks appear to be gun rights...

...And straight-up Trumpian immigration policy.

Although among his more recent targets seem to be the invading scourge that is girls joining the Boy Scouts.

He’s not shying away from the fact that he’s originally from Minnesota. That’s all in his campaign bio, with descriptions of his “working class family” and growing up a longshoreman’s son.

A survey of Republican voters taken by Christopher Newport University in early March marked him as a nose ahead of fellow Republicans Nick Freitas and E. W. Jackson. That may not be saying much, because 66 percent of the respondents said they hadn’t decided on a candidate yet.

Noel Fritsch, a spokesperson for Stewart's campaign, says that defending Confederate monuments its still very much a part of Stewart's platform.

"The issue is really rule of law," he says. "That's what it comes down to."