Stewart still eyeing Va. Senate race

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Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart said Tuesday he has not ruled out a run for the GOP Senate nomination in 2012, denying press reports that he has passed on a challenge to former Sen. George Allen in the race to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Jim Webb.

“I have not ruled it out,” Mr. Stewart told The Washington Times Tuesday morning, adding that his focus right now is to win re-election as chairman. 

“I’ve got to do the job that’s in front of me,” said Mr. Stewart, who has earned a national reputation for his tough stance against illegal immigration.

Mr. Stewart, 42, has for the past several months considered a potential entrant in a GOP primary that already includes Mr. Allen, state tea party activist Jamie Radtke and Hampton Roads lawyer David McCormick. With Mr. Webb retiring after just one term, the seat is seen as a prime pick-up opportunity for the GOP.

Virginia Delegate Robert G. Marshall, Prince William Republican, has said he is considering a run.

Mr. Webb, who in 2006 narrowly defeated Mr. Allen in his re-election bid, said last month he would not run and Democrats are still scrambling to find a replacement. Former Gov. Tim Kaine, now chairman of the Democratic National Committee and widely considered the party’s best hope, is expected to announce this week whether he will run.

Mr. Allen, also a former Virginia governor, is a conservative with fundraising prowess and support from the party establishment. However, he faces a Republican base that last year ousted a number of establishment-backed candidates, often with the aid of the tea party movement. 

Mr. Stewart was elected chairman of the Prince William Board of Supervisors in 2007 backing a tougher approach to the county’s growing illegal immigrant population. His efforts brought national attention when the county adopted a policy requiring police to check the immigration status of anybody arrested. 

Among those who plan to challenge Mr. Stewart for his chairmanship are Robert B. Weir, a Republican who represents  Haymarket; independent John Gray; and Prince William County Planning Commission Chairman Gary Friedman, a Democrat.

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