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Senate GOP campaign arm has no plans to endorse Republican nominee in Virginia

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has no plans to endorse Corey Stewart, the party’s Senate nominee in Virginia, the group’s chairman said Wednesday. “We have a big map, right now we are focused on Florida, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana. I don’t see Virginia in it,” Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior faces legal scrutiny for keeping controversial acting leaders in office | White House faces suit on order lifting endangered species protections | Lawmakers seek investigation of Park Police after clearing of protesters The Hill’s Campaign Report: Republicans go on attack over calls to ‘defund the police’ MORE (R-Colo.), who leads the Senate GOP campaign arm, told CNN.

Stewart, a controversial figure, won the GOP Senate nomination Tuesday night. ADVERTISEMENTHe previously made a failed bid for Virginia governor, basing much of his campaign in 2017 around preserving Confederate statues. Gardner’s decision is a break with President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE, who tweeted his congratulations to Stewart on Wednesday morning. “Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia. Now he runs against a total stiff, Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Senate panel passes amendment to bar using troops against protesters Defense bill turns into proxy battle over Floyd protests MORE, who is weak on crime and borders, and wants to raise your taxes through the roof. Don’t underestimate Corey, a major chance of winning!” Trump wrote on Twitter. It’s not the first time Gardner has decided to not endorse a candidate who has received Trump’s backing. The committee, under Gardner’s leadership, refused to back controversial Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreSessions goes after Tuberville’s coaching record in challenging him to debate The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip Sessions fires back at Trump over recusal: ‘I did my duty & you’re damn fortunate I did” MORE last year. Even when Trump endorsed Moore a month after the first allegations of sexual misconduct by women who were underage at the time surfaced against the candidate, Gardner refused to follow Trump’s endorsement. That put the NRSC at odds with both the White House and the Republican National Committee, which also backed Moore.  Following his win Tuesday, Stewart is now set to face off against Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) in November. Though Republicans are facing a favorable Senate map, Virginia isn’t considered a top target. Instead, Republicans are focusing their efforts on a slate of vulnerable Democrats who are up for reelection in red or purple states won by Trump in 2016.  – Ben Kamisar contributed.

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