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Virginia GOP candidate attacks Muslim gubernatorial candidate as an ‘ISIS commie’

Corey Stewart literally loves the Confederacy.

Republican Senatorial candidate Corey Stewart smeared a Muslim candidate from Michigan. (CREDIT: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Republican Senatorial candidate Corey Stewart smeared a Muslim candidate from Michigan. (CREDIT: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Corey Stewart, a neo-Confederate and the Republican nominee for Senate in Virginia, called Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed an “ISIS commie” on Twitter Wednesday.

El-Sayed came in second place in Tuesday night’s Democratic primary, winning about 30 percent of the vote in the three-way primary. Gretchen Whitmer won the primary with 52 percent of the vote.

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El-Sayed was backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old community activist and socialist who toppled 10-year incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) earlier in the primary cycle. El-Sayed ran the most progressive campaign in the primary, with a platform including raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, implementing single-payer health care in the state, free college for families earning less than $150,000 a year, universal pre-K, legalizing marijuana, and ending Right to Work. He vowed never to accept corporate money and to “get the money out of politics.”

El-Sayed also supports the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a move that — although Stewart paints it as “dangerous” — proponents say would protect families and women not only in the United States but internationally.

ICE has repeatedly detained and deported people who have been in the United States for decades without a criminal record. As ThinkProgress’ Alan Pyke reported just last week, ICE agents in plain clothes, refusing to show ID, took a Minnesota man who had been in the U.S. for 25 years from his family while he was attending a hearing at a federal courthouse.

Additionally, ICE agents have repeatedly been accused of assault and abuse. In January, The Outline’s Gaby Del Valle reported that asylum seekers are being sexually assaulted in U.S. detention, and an Intercept report from April found 1,224 complains of sexual abuse in immigration detention centers. Half of the accused abusers worked for ICE.

If elected, El-Sayed also would have been the first Muslim governor in the United States.

The article from a right-wing site called Big League Politics linked in Stewart’s tweet read in part, “Under Sharia Law, women are considered property of their husbands, gays are murdered, and adulterers can be stoned to death. According to a former Muslim and expert on Sharia Law, El-Sayed was practicing ‘Taqiya’ to further the cause of Islam in America.”

El-Sayed, of course, supports none of those things.

Stewart’s own record and platform are in every way El-Sayed’s opposite. He has a history of defending the Confederate flag and Confederate monuments, supports the abolition of background checks and once raffled off an AR-15, blamed the left for anti-Semitism, and once called members of his own party “flaccid” for supporting Medicaid expansion. Unsurprisingly, Stewart has been endorsed by President Donald Trump.

Stewart compared El-Sayed to his own opponent, incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), calling him “wimpy” and asking voters not to let Kaine bring this “dangerous, far-left communism to VA.”

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The insinuation is confusing, considering Kaine has been one of the only high-profile Democratic senators hesitant to endorse a single-payer health care system, which also isn’t even communism.


UPDATE: Friday, August 8, 2018, 3:15 p.m.: The Stewart campaign reached out to ThinkProgress and offered the following comment from the candidate.

“One of my vendors put out a tweet last night that attempted to link a Michigan gubernatorial candidate to ISIS, because he apparently received support from purported extremists,” the statement said. “I don’t believe in guilt by association. I have been the target of very similar smears, and I don’t believe in using such tactics against others.”