FIVE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES OPPOSE INCUMBENT DEMOCRAT TIME KAINE FOR U.S. SENATE SEAT
By Abigail Adcox, Staff Writer
Three months after Virginia elected a new governor and slate of delegates to the General Assembly, campaigns are gearing up again for the 2018 U.S. senate midterm elections.
Tim Kaine, the Democratic incumbent and former state governor, is running for reelection. He is opposed by five Republican candidates — Corey Stewart, E.W. Jackson, Nick Freitas, Ivan Raiklin and Ron Wallace — competing in the GOP primary on June 12. What do we know about these candidates so far?
Kaine is the only candidate running on the Democratic ballot this year. It will be his first senate reelection campaign since taking office in 2013. Kaine previously served as mayor of Richmond, lieutenant governor from 2002-2006 with then-Governor Mark Warner (now the state’s senior senator), and Virginia’s governor from 2006-2010.
As Virginia’s junior senator, he has been a member of the committees for the armed services, foreign relations, and budget, as well as the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Kaine’s campaign highlights education spending, clean energy, agriculture and the environment as key issues, and he plans to continue government investments in transportation and infrastructure, protecting health care through his Medicare X bill, and funding for DACA immigration protections.
Republican challenger Corey Stewart is currently serving on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, where he has been the at-large chairman since 2008. Stewart previously ran for governor in 2017, but was defeated in the GOP primary by Ed Gillespie. Stewart is known for advocating a strong crackdown on illegal immigration. During his time as chairman, the county has turned over almost 8,000 criminal illegal immigrants to ICE. Stewart’s campaign is also focused on bringing jobs back to Virginia, protection of the Second Amendment, pro-life policies and lower taxes.
E.W. Jackson, a minister at Exodus Faith Ministries in Chesapeake, previously served in the Marine Corps, and worked as a small business lawyer. Jackson supports the U.S. building a border wall with Mexico, and his platform emphasizes a “parent-driven, child-centered” education policy and strong national defense. Jackson gained national attention while running for lieutenant governor in 2013, when the National Review published excerpts from his book, “Ten Commandments to an Extraordinary Life: Making Your Dreams Come True,” in which he compared practicing yoga to worshipping Satan. He previously ran for the senate in 2012.
Nick Freitas (R-30th), is serving as a delegate in the General Assembly representing parts of Culpeper, Madison, and Orange counties. Freitas served in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and Special Forces, including two tours in Iraq. Freitas is running on a platform of “limited, constitutional government,” including “economic liberty [and] fiscal responsibility.” Like Stewart, Freitas promises that if elected to the senate, he “will be a staunch advocate of our Second Amendment rights.”
Like Freitas, candidate Ivan Raiklin served in the Army Special Forces, with 20 years of experience as a military diplomat, foreign affairs specialist, and intelligence officer during deployments around the world. Raiklin has also made a career as a businessman, investing in a wide-range of start-ups. One of the skills Raiklin hopes to bring to the senate is his fluency in English, Russian and Spanish, and working knowledge of Arabic and French. His campaign focuses on national security and support for veterans, adding jobs and boosting economic growth.
Ron Wallace has worked in corporate senior management and marketing. His candidacy focuses on the federal budget — a hot topic with one government shutdown already this year, and another narrowly avoided on Feb. 8. Other issues for Wallace include promoting pro-life legislation, protecting gun rights, and ending illegal immigration.
All five Republican candidates will compete in the statewide GOP primary on June 12, while Kaine will be looking toward the Nov. 6 general election.