RICHMOND (CN) – Virginia’s Republican candidate for Senate blamed the lack of civility in modern politics on the removal of Christian values from public schools at a candidate forum Sunday.
Prince William County Supervisor Corey Stewart told a crowd at Virginia Union University that harsh exchanges between politicians was par for the course and had been since Thomas Jefferson ran against John Adams centuries ago.
He also said the country stymieing religious expression in schools and in the public square lead to the breakdown in discourse.
“It started at home and it started in schools and a lot of it started when we took God out of our classroom,” he said. “We should not be afraid to express our religious beliefs in our schools or public lives.”
“There’s been too much suppression of our faith and values. And so many of us are afraid to express our traditional, Christian values and that has to be overcome,” he added.
Stewart, who had ties — which he has since attempted to disavow — to the organizers of the Charlottesville alt-right march that ended in death and mayhem in August 2017 — narrowly won the state’s primary earlier this year, overtaking the party’s establishment candidate by a few thousand votes.
Despite his trying to walk away from his past associations for alt-right personalities, Stewart continues to be anathema to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and his own fundraising efforts have also been hurt, leaving him with less than $150,000 as of June reporting numbers.
His democratic opponent, incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine, was not in attendance Sunday and sent State Senator Jennifer McClellan in his stead.
“When my five-year-old son was sitting in the back of the car listening to [President Trump] on the radio, he was asking ‘why he’s so mean, why is so angry? Why is he calling that person names?’”
McClellan said in response to the same question about a lack of civility in politics. “And trying to explain to your son, after the election, why certain children are crying because other children said they were going to get deported because of their last name, if you think our children aren’t listening, they are.”
Stewart is lagging in polls as well, with the political tracking site FiveThirtyEight showing Kaine 17 points ahead of Stewart.
Virginians go to the polls November 6.