Did Corey Stewart Cost Trump Virginia?

Of course, Hillary Clinton won the Commonwealth with about 200,000 votes… but there’s no question that Trump underperformed in certain localities.

Prince William County was a surprising location for failure given that Corey Stewart — a former Trump co-chair in Virginia before an ill-timed support for a protest outside of RNC.  One can endlessly speculate as to the reasons why PWC failed while the rest of the nation (and most of rural Virginia) produced a tidal wave of support for the Republican nominee.

…but the numbers do the explaining far better.

2000: Prince William
Gore: 44,745
Bush: 52,788 (52.5%)
Margin: BUSH 8,043

2004: Prince William
Kerry: 61,271
Bush: 69,776 (53.7%)
Margin: BUSH 8,505 

2008: Prince William
Obama: 93,435
McCain: 67,621 (46.3%)
Margin: OBAMA 25,814

2012: Prince William
Obama: 103,331
Romney: 74,458 (47.2%)
Margin: OBAMA 28,873

2016: Prince William
Hillary: 112,986
Trump: 71,588 (36.50%)
Margin: HILLARY 41,398

The kicker in all of this is that Prince William County’s population has exploded over the last 16 years, from an estimated 284,000 to a current estimated 437,000 — a 65% increase of population while the delta between the Bush 2000 turnout and Trump 2016 in a county where the chairman of the Board of Supervisors is was your national co-chair increased by a measely 12.1%. If Stewart had produced Bush 2000 levels of turnout — improving nothing other than allowing the natural lift of the population to fill the ranks — Trump should have pulled down 81,226 votes with 18.3%. Not enough to win PWC outright, but at the very least improving on Romney’s logical track upwards.

Can’t blame turnout on this one.  Virginia turnout for Trump?  70.4% — while back in 2000?  Turnout was 68.5% according to the Virginia Department of Elections — a 2.9% change.

Go deeper on this.

PWC population in 2000 vs. the Bush 2000 vote?  18.3%
PWC population in 2016 vs. the Trump 2016 vote?  12.1%.

If Stewart had produced Bush 2000 levels of turnout — improving nothing other than allowing the natural lift of the population to fill the ranks — Trump should have pulled down 81,226 votes with 18.3%.  Not enough to win PWC outright, but at the very least improving on Romney’s logical track upwards.

So why am I spending so much time on this?  It’s because Corey Stewart catastrophically failed to deliver Virginia much less his home locality for the Trump campaign, thus gutting any narrative that Stewart might have frontrunner status in the 2017 gubernatorial contest.   Stewart’s campaign for governor is over before it began — completely carved out by hard, unfeeling math.

stuffed_turkeyGrandma will give you a live demonstration of Stewart’s “frontrunner” status in about two weeks.

This turkey is fried.  Not even the dignity of a little bit of bacon on the top… just carved out, stuffed, and in desperate need of mashed potatoes to make it edible.

How bad is it?  Check out the Washington Post:

Gillespie, who came close to toppling Sen. Mark R. Warner in 2014, has positioned himself as someone who can unite a splintered GOP and appeal to swing voters. During and after his Senate bid, he courted tea party activists as well as the GOP establishment, racking up campaign donations and endorsements.

Stewart contends that Gillespie will pay for keeping his distance from the nominee. “Ed Gillespie treated Donald Trump like he had typhoid,” Stewart said.

Gillespie seemed pretty active in supporting the Trump candidacy from this perch.  Question is, how does the Trump campaign feel about Stewart?

Mike Rubino, Trump’s senior Virginia adviser, said Stewart should not expect support from the president-elect.

“To be honest, Mr. Trump doesn’t even know who Corey Stewart is,” Rubino said. “He went rogue. He never followed orders. He never did what the campaign asked him to do. He was so preoccupied with running for governor that we had to fire him…. This guy was a cancer to the organization in Virginia, and we’ve been paying for it ever since.”

Does anyone need a graphic representation of that Rubino quote?

machoRubino in a previous life.

Talk about scorched earth, no backup, President-Trump-doesn’t-even-know-you type harshness.  That is so dark, so ruthless, such an absolutely metal quote. . . the translation is pretty clear: Trump’s machine is actively blaming Stewart for Trump losing Virginia.  Not positive, folks.

In short, the Trump machine is letting folks know that Stewart is hostis humanis generis (that’s Latin for “has typhoid”).  Just in case anyone has any illusions about what the current Virginia Trump chairman has to say about it?  Yeah… he RT’d the WaPo article.

. . . and that should do it, folks.

Stewart’s PWC numbers put him in serious danger of losing a campaign for re-election, never mind running for statewide office — and certainly not a frontrunner.

  • D.j. McGuire

    So, the entire GOP gubernatorial nomination contest will be about whom Trump loves more…

    …and people wonder why I’m calling myself a conservative Democrat.

    • Well… at least in the case of the guy who wants his mantle, it will be.

      The interesting play here isn’t the NOVA/ROVA split, or even the WEVA/EVA split where the emphasis is on Eastern Virginia. Who captures those western Virginia voters as a base?

      That’s going to be the interesting question for me, because as of right now it’s a bit of a tossup (with Gillespie having the slight edge by virtue of having campaigned there once before).

    • David Obermark

      The term for a conservative Democrat is Blue Dog. Welcome aboard. However you will still find a dearth of candidates in your party you can enthusiastically support on this side.

  • Kathy Mateer

    Let it go. How much do you agree on policy. Figure it out, even if you don’t like him. Good grief, my dear. Lord have mercy. Hugs.

  • Bob McMahan

    This sounds like the logic we heard right up until the election that Trump could not possibly win. If memory serves, Shaun is a big open borders guy. Trump’s victory must sting a tad for him, because now we are not going to have open borders. Corey made his reputation, at least partly, on his effectve opposition to the local government pandering to illegal aliens.

    Virginians will not care what some Trump staff puke thinks of our candidate for governor. What we want is a governor who will serve our interests and not the interests of recent arrivals from Mexico or Syria. Gillespie is not that guy, but Stewart is.

    • Doug Brown

      “Corey made his reputation, at least partly, on his effectve opposition to the local government pandering to illegal aliens.”

      Effective? Stewart it seems to me has been as much a part of the problem as those who have mindlessly supported no borders. Virginia politics is incredibly dysfunctional, both parties strike me as nuts.

      Stewart had the opportunity to polish his edges a little as Trump’s chair, but instead he went out and claimed to be more Trump than Trump. Who does that kind of thing? Hey boss I’m better at being you than you!
      He should have been bending arms, busting heads behind the scenes to make sure local Republican and conservative leaders went out and openly promoted Trump, I saw no sign of him doing that here in Manassas or the greater Manassas area.
      To be fair to Stewart, it’s hard to trust the numbers in VA anyway. The Clintons after all have spent years greasing and oiling their machine here.

  • H G

    Trump didn’t lose
    Virginia lost…
    but then again, this is the state that elected McAuliffe governor.

    Seems Virginia prefers losing.

  • David Obermark


    You were on those in the Republican brand strongly opposing Donald from the get go.

    Now that he has won, you are trying to jump on the band wagon and fix blame on others for why Virginia did not land in Trump’s column.

    I will accept blame. I voted for Hillary.

  • Grandma Fox

    The Prince William Republican Committee did very little to get out the vote, and engage the new voters. 4 door knockers on the average per week. Not interested in beginning to organize for the Nov 8 election until August. Most elected officials in the county did very little to promote Trump or try to get out the vote. Maybe that is why the Republicans are losing ground.

  • Chad Davis

    We have a lot riding on 2017. I hate to sound pessimistic, but if we cannot win either Governor/Lt. Governor or unseat Herring as AG, then I’ll have to conclude that Virginia has in fact switched from purple to blue for statewide races

    • David Obermark

      Your best chance for victory is to run a moderate Republican against Herring for any office he runs for.

      • mark4java

        Absolutely false. Voters respond to candidates who have their interests first. Who run on conservative principles but not in a Cruz/Cooch demeaning way.

  • mark4java

    Va was lost because of republicans like Kenney. Amateurs whose only interests are self-serving. Gillespie wasn’t a Trump supporter and the only reason his pathetic campaign did as well as it did was because obama was overwhelming rejected. We could’ve easily won that seat with a good candidate who wasn’t a Bush lackey and cared more about Main St Va rather than Wall St.

    As Va Republicans continue to expand govt, raise taxes and allow illegals to suck state benefits, Va will go from purple to blue. Kenny is right that the Trump team had grave concerns about Stewart and that he wasn’t effective from the start. But unless Rs reject Gillespie for the big-govt, inside the beltway, self-serving lobbyist he is, we’ll most likely see another democrat leading Richmond for 4 yrs.

  • Lawrence Wood

    In the interest of just general fairness and putting the Ed Gillespie political axe to grind aside for one second and just looking at the gross population numbers for Northern Virginia and it’s census headcount estimated today at 2.7M (million) including Prince Williams County, at best a mid sized vote contributor actually at 451K, compared too for example Fairfax’s 1.2M (million) or the total aggregate population of the Northern Virginia tier this conclusion seems a major reach. Did Trump lose Prince Williams County, yes he did, but Trump also lost to a Clinton majority of voters in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun counties as well, plus the City of Alexandria which backed Clinton. So the opinion that Corey Stewart catastrophically failed to deliver “Virginia” much less his home locality for the Trump campaign, really should be restated as Stewart failed to deliver the Northern Virginia Tier, which EVERY other Republican candidate has also by the way completely failed to do for close to a decade as well.

    Was the 2014 Warner/Gillespie race a more competitive contest then the Trump/ Clinton presidential election six years later, yes it was, but in my opinion for one very critical reason, and that is Warner’s very poor choice of depicting himself as a Democratic moderate in the backyard of hard core Obama progressiveism thereby opening the door a crack for Gillespie to sipion off some left leaning independent votes. I wouldn’t expect that type of Democratic candidate mistake to occur again in Northern Virginia and we indeed haven’t seen it repeated by a host of left wing spouting Democratic candidates since.

    So maintaining that Corey Steward’s failure in carrying Northern Virginia or Prince William County for Trump is going to be any more challenging in the future for him then any other existing establishment candidate is at best splitting hairs or more likely attempting to create a unique issue from what is in truth a general problem for all potential Republican candidates.

    As for Steward being the convenient fall guy for the resulting outcome of Virginia’s placement on the final presidential delegate election map as the large red thumb conspicuously sticking out on the end of Clinton’s east coast electoral delegate count dominance well it’s always been my perspective that the guys in charge carry the win AND the losses so Trump’s Virginia Senior Advisor, Mike Rubino and State Director, Thomas Midanek certainly bear some of that responsibility regardless of whether they would rather bury it all at the feet of Cory Steward or not.

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