WASHINGTON - Corey Stewart fired back Monday, coming out with a list of denouncements and putting to rest rumors that claimed he was dropping out of the Virginia race for governor.
At a gathering billed on Facebook as the 'Breitbart Night at Northern Virginia Tea Party' in Fairfax, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman At-Large, made it clear he is still in the race.
IN THE RACE
Stewart said he is absolutely still in the race for Virginia governor. He told FOX 5's Steve Chenevey on Tuesday that there hasn't been a Republican primary in Virginia since 2005 and that his supporters say they are ready for something new. "They're ready for somebody who has been able to win in northern Virginia, like myself, and I've done it as a conservative. I think that's what people are ready for."
"What I'm supporting is tax cuts. What I'm supporting is bringing back jobs to Virginia," Stewart told Chenevey. "We're losing so many - about 10,000 manufacturing jobs a year - good jobs, and we're not doing anything about it. Frankly, Governor McAuliffe is sitting on his hands not doing anything about it."
I WAS TRUMP BEFORE TRUMP WAS TRUMP
"I can't buy the election like Ed is trying to do," Stewart said about Republican rival Ed Gillespie. "I don't think that works any more," he claimed."People are sick and tired of same old talking points. The mumbo jumbo - you know - things Republicans have been saying for 30 years. We just have to be more direct and honest with people and that's what I've always done and that's a winning strategy I believe."
"I was Trump before Trump was Trump," Stewart said. "And the reason I say that is - I'm not trying to be him. I'm not trying to be a mini-Trump. I've always been very bold, some would say brash, very direct, and I think that's what people want."
A poll in the Washington Post has Stewart down 20 points but Stewart says the news publication doesn't know who is going to vote. "Here's the thing, like I said, there's no data out there. No one knows who is going to vote," he said. "The Washington Post has conducted a poll but they don't know which of these people are going to vote."
"What we do know is a record number of people came out and voted for Donald Trump and other candidates in 2016. None of those people are being polled because many of them have only voted in one Republican primary ever. These are people who have never participated in the primary process - Trump brought them out in 2016 - I'm betting that they'll stay out there and they will support me."
Stewart said that Democrats in Virginia are trying to label those who object to the removal of Confederate statues as white supremacists. "When Republicans object or just normal people object, then we're labeled as white supremacists. And this is a game the Democrats are playing. I refuse to play that game. People know this is not just about a statue. This is about our history and our heritage and it's about part of our identity."
"This rally Saturday in Charlottesville was led by white supremacists. You denounced a lot of things last night. Do you denounce that rally?" asked Chenevey.
"I'm not going to denounce any of that," Stewart answered. "I'll tell you why. Because that is the Democrats' game - they've been doing, we've been apologizing and what happens is - they get us on our heels and then we're playing defense at that point."
"That's the mistake Republicans have been making forever. Donald Trump didn't play in game in 2016 and he won. I'm not going to pay play that game either. I'll stay on my game."
"As soon as you go do that and you start denouncing things the Democrats want to you denounce, you're diverting attention away from your own game plan. My game plan is decreasing tax and bringing back jobs. as soon as I start talking about what they want me to talk about, I've lost."
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.