Senate Race Offers Stark Choices

Virginia is home to more than one of the most watched mid-term races in the nation this election cycle. One of those heated contests pits incumbent Democrat Tim Kaine against Republican Corey Stewart and Libertarian Matt Waters for the U.S. Senate.

Both Kaine and Stewart have worked to tie the other to the most iconic faces from the far right and far left, respectively. On the campaign trail, Stewart has consistently reminded voters that Kaine was Democrat Hillary Clinton’s running mate in her bid for the presidency, and Kaine has emphasized Stewart’s vow to push forward President Donald J. Trump’s priorities.

Kaine, a former Virginia governor and vice presidential candidate, is seeking a second six-year term representing the commonwealth in the U.S. Senate. His campaign has made frequent stops in Northern Virginia and specifically in Loudoun County, which is still considered a political bellwether. Even though Loudouners have swayed between supporting Republicans and Democrats, they have repeatedly backed Kaine’s campaigns. The majority of Loudoun voters favored him in his run for governor in 2005 and in his run for U.S. Senate in 2012—plus opted for the Clinton-Kaine presidential ticket over the Trump-Pence ticket in 2016.

During a campaign stop at B Chord Brewery on the county’s western edge in July, Kaine said he’s spent his time in Congress working to solve Virginia problems and bring Virginia solutions to the national stage, and he’ll continue to do so. He accused his opponent, Stewart, of being too busy praising the president and bashing Clinton to represent the commonwealth.

“We’ve got to have elected officials who will put Virginia first,” Kaine said.

Stewart has focused much of his energy this election cycle on Republican strongholds, with frequent campaign stops in the western and southern end of the state and very few in the politically purple Loudoun County.

Stewart is serving his fourth term as the at-large chairman of Prince William County’s Board of Supervisors. On the campaign trail, he’s called Kaine too liberal and weak for Virginia. “He’s done nothing—nothing but oppose everything that President Trump wants to do and that’s wrong,” he said. “We need to get things done and that’s what I’ve been able to do as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in Prince William County.”

He pointed to progress such as building new roads and schools and hiring more police officers and teachers, all while keeping the tax rate the lowest in Northern Virginia and maintaining a AAA bond rating.

At a stop at the Dulles South Recreation and Community Center last month, Stewart said he would work to move the president’s agenda forward. “Let’s make tax breaks permanent, build the wall, and secure our border. Let’s widen I-81, let’s rebuild our military and take care of our veterans.”

Waters, the Liberterian in the race, has run a quiet campaign with few campaign stops in Northern Virginia. His website states that he is running for office because he is concerned about the country’s spending, which has resulted in a $21 trillion debt. “The aim of this campaign is to restore liberty to the people by limiting the size and scope of our federal government,” he writes. “After all, Money = Freedom.  The more money you and I have, the more free we are!”

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