WASHINGTON - A Virginia candidate in the race for governor is losing support after making controversial comments embracing Confederate heritage.
Chairman at-large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, Corey Stewart, has made clear his support for keeping Confederate statues and other signs of what many consider the country's racist past. At a recent campaign stop in Danville, Virginia, Stewart spoke on camera about his pride in Virginia's Confederate past.
"Virginia is the state of Washington and Jefferson and Madison and Monroe," he can be heard saying in a video recording of the event. "But it’s also the state of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Let me tell you something. That is our heritage. It's what makes us Virginia."
His comments received cheers from the crowd.
Following these comments, Stewart lost the endorsement of Prince William County Sheriff Glendell Hill, and the backing of his Republican colleagues on the Board of County Supervisors.
He joined FOX 5 DC ahead of the June 13th primary to discuss his campaign developments.
"At the end of the day this is not about the Confederate flag. It's not about the confederacy at all," he told FOX 5's Steve Chenevey on Tuesday. "It's about our history and our heritage and it's about political correctness that is being used to shame people who are simply trying to honor their ancestry and heritage here is Virginia."
Stewart called Democrats 'bold' and said a lot of Republicans are 'wimps' when discussing the removal of Confederate statues in different cities across the country.
"I'd love to get their support, but at the end of the day I have to do what I think is right," he said. "Whether I win or lose, I want to make sure that I'm standing up for all of Virginia, that I'm standing up for our heritage and history. Somebody's got to do it and if it’s not me, I don't know who else would possibly do it."
AREN'T YOU FROM MINNESOTA?
In a recent Tweet, Stewart said, "Nothing is worse than a Yankee telling a Southerner that his monuments don't matter."
Nothing is worse than a Yankee telling a Southerner that his monuments don't matter.— Corey Stewart (@CoreyStewartVA) April 25, 2017
"Aren’t you from Minnesota?" Chenevey asked him during Tuesday's interview. "Where does all of this southern pride come from?"
"It's not so much about southern pride for me," Stewart responded. "Yes, I am from Minnesota and I celebrate my heritage there too."
"They're not trying to offend anybody. They're simply trying to honor their heritage and their history and that's part of all of us. Whether you were born in Virginia, or whether you came here later like I did, it's all part of our history, and it's our responsibility to protect it from those who want to destroy it."
Stewart has had success in a part of Virginia that has traditionally voted Democrat and attributes that success to his style of leadership.
"I’m trying to shake people up. I think a lot of people have fallen asleep," he said. "If I don't do it, I don't see anybody else out there who's willing to confront political correctness which is literally tearing down our history."
In January, Stewart gave away an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle to a supporter in hopes of a campaign boost.
Prior to last year's election, Stewart was fired as chairman of then-candidate Donald Trump's Virginia campaign after organizing a protest outside the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington D.C.