Two candidates vying for statewide office on next year’s ballot were in Leesburg on Monday night touting the importance of Donald J. Trump’s presidential bid.
Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart is running for the GOP’s gubernatorial nomination. He is also the chairman of Trump’s campaign in Virginia. Sen. Jill Hotzman-Vogel (R-27) is campaigning for the party’s nomination for lieutenant governor. Both addressed the Loudoun County Republican Committee on Monday night.
They said Trump’s push for change as an outsider businessman willing to eschew political correctness is resonating with voters—and that’s being reflected in polls nationally and in Virginia that show the race tightening.
Vogel said the Democrats’ efforts to paint Republicans as being against women and the working class are not getting traction. Women are more concerned about the Second Amendment protections and economic freedoms championed by Republicans and working people support Trump’s call for tighter controls on illegal immigrants who compete for their jobs, she said.
Stewart highlighted the shifting poll numbers in recent weeks that show Trump’s support growing—the Republican running neck-and-neck with Hillary Clinton in Virginia and other battleground states. Voters feel the country is headed in the wrong direction and are looking to Trump to lead the change, he said.
If the race stays close through November, all eyes will be on Virginia—and on Loudoun County, Stewart said. “Virginia could be the Florida of 2016.”
Loudoun County has been the bellwether of presidential elections in Virginia for more than 50 years. Stewart said it was critical for local Republicans to support the campaign. “Everything you do will be important.”
Vogel and Stewart said they were focused on helping GOP candidates succeed in November, but they agreed that this year’s results could help set the stage for Republicans to win the state race next year.
“If we can take back America in 2016, we can take back Virginia in 2017,” Stewart said.