- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Corey Stewart, a Republican running for office against incumbent U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, Virginia Democrat, said Monday that the Civil War was spurred less by slavery than states’ rights.

“I don’t believe that the Civil War was ultimately fought over the issue of slavery,” Mr. Stewart told The Hill.

“We have to put ourselves in the shoes of the people who were fighting at that time,” Mr. Stewart said in an interview. “From their perspective, they saw this as a federal intrusion into the state.”

Most soldiers never owned slaves and “they didn’t fight to preserve the institution of slavery,” he added.

The current chairman of the Prince William Board of Supervisors, Mr. Stewart recently defeated Virginia state Del. Nick Freitas in this month’s Republican primary and faces off in the November general election against Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate during the 2016 presidential race, and a former governor of the state.

Mr. Stewart, 49, overcame Mr. Freitas despite facing opposition from Democrats and fellow Republicans spurred in part by his past ties to white nationalist activist Jason Kessler and Paul Nehlen, a self-described “pro-white” candidate running for the U.S. House, as well as his previous comments defending the Confederacy.

“A cruder imitation of Donald Trump who stokes white supremacy and brags about being ‘ruthless and vicious,’ Corey Stewart would be an embarrassment for Virginia in the U.S. Senate,” Kaine communications director Ian Sams said in a statement after Mr. Stewart cinched Virginia’s GOP primary.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, meanwhile, said earlier this month that it has no plans to endorse Mr. Stewart in the November race.

Mr. Kaine is currently favored by 18 percentage points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday

Virginia was the eighth state to secede from the U.S., severing ties with the Union on April 17, 1861, four days after Union troops surrendered at Fort Sumter.

Virginia’s ordinance of secession cited “not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States.”

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