Prince William county’s chair of its board of supervisors, Corey Stewart, wanted a primary to decide if he’ll be the Republican nominee for re-election to his seat this November. As we all know, primaries are taxpayer-funded elections held by the state at the same polling places, with the same voting machines, and all the rest of the stuff that goes with a general election. Notwithstanding their complaints about needless waste in government, the Republicans (like the Democrats) are extended this courtesy because they are, in fact, an actual political party (meeting the criteria for such set forth in state law).
Stewart didn’t get his primary for the simplest and most undeniable of reasons: his party missed the filing deadline. Now, instead of the rest of us paying for it, Stewart’s party will have to hold its own nominating procedure, probably a convention or a “firehouse caucus” (the latter being kind of like a primary, except that the party pays its own cost of running it, instead of the taxpayers).
How could this happen? It happened because Bill Card, Prince William’s Republican Committee chair, was late in filing the necessary papers. It is important to know that no one disputes this. Card owned up and said he simply missed it. What has happened ever since would be almost unbelievable, if it didn’t involve the likes of Corey Stewart.
See, although GOP chair Card admits it was his error, Stewart blames the Democrats. In a legally uncertain move, Prince Williams’s local electoral board held a vote to decide if they could accept the late filing and spend the money Stewart wanted spent on his primary. They voted 2-1 that they couldn’t do that. And that’s when Corey Stewart had a melt-down.
After, in effect, getting his homework in late, Stewart pointed out that the two votes to hold him accountable for it were cast by Democrats, while the one vote to overlook it was cast by a Republican. Instead of accepting his party’s responsibility in creating his dilemma, Stewart described the board’s vote as, “Democrats meddling in the process.”
Unable to accept the decision by those meddling kids to correct the Republicans’ admitted blunder, Stewart sued. And lost again. Retired Circuit Court Judge Paul Sheridan (the same judge who presided over the failed removal effort against Loudoun County supervisor Eugene Delgaudio) saw this as a political issue, which courts are typically reluctant to intrude upon:
It is not for a judge, in light of all this, to tell [political] parties, state, or local organizations how to proceed.
Remember, primaries are only available to recognized political parties. Stewart’s umbrage at not getting one overlooks the fact that his party is expected to do its part in making them happen. His party didn’t, and the judge simply let that fact stand. Any other ruling runs the risk of judicial oversight taking command of internal party affairs, something that would, in effect, replace the American political process with litigation.
But let’s not forget who Corey Stewart thinks is behind his problems. After losing his vote at the electoral board, Stewart took a moment to confront the local party chairman and tell him in no uncertain terms just whose fault this really was. According to witnesses, Stewart confronted him and launched into a tirade of profanities:
He used a bunch of choice words that conveyed his displeasure. We were like dumbfounded that this exchange took place because this guy is a well-respected member of the community
Just what did Stewart say? Witnesses say Stewart repeatedly called him a, “f______ piece of s___.”
Only the chairman Stewart was yelling at wasn’t GOP chair Bill Card. The person Corey Stewart was speaking to was Harry Wiggins, chair of the Prince William Democratic Committee.
You read that right. Republican chair Bill Card filed his papers late, so Corey Stewart called Democratic chair Harry Wiggins a, “f______ piece of s___.”
Stewart seems to be hoping that, if he gets mad long enough, throws his tantrums loud enough, and blames the Democrats for enough, people will actually think the Democrats are up to something, when this is all because Card missed the deadline. Consider this tear-jerking assault from Stewart:
Alternatives to primaries, such as party-run canvasses and conventions, disenfranchise voters because absentee ballots can’t be cast by those unable to vote because of military deployments, old age or chronic illness. Saturday contests are also difficult for busy parents ferrying kids to and from activities, Stewart said.
None of that mattered in 2013, when a convention nominated Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson, and Mark Obenshain, but that would have required blaming the Republicans. Here, for no apparent reason other than that he wishes it were true, Stewart is blaming the Democrats.
Mr. Stewart needs to grow up. His party, like the other, can have the courtesy of a
free taxpayer-funded primary, if they do their part and get their papers in on time. They didn’t do that, and Stewart is blaming everyone but the party whose fault that was. The fact is, the Republicans caused Mr. Stewart’s problem. If they can’t do things to his satisfaction, maybe he’d be happier if he left the Republican party altogether.
Considering how Corey Stewart has been acting lately, the feeling might well be mutual.