NYT: Divisive Republican Spells GOP Doom, But Democratic Abuser ‘Speaks of Redemption’

June 14th, 2018 9:11 PM

When do controversial candidates risk hurting the party as a whole? Only when they’re Republicans. That’s the takeaway from The New York Times's Thursday coverage of primary races for the House and Senate.

Reporters Michael Tackett and Trip Gabriel’s “Republican’s Big Day May Become Problem For G.O.P. in Virginia” focused on the divisive, far-right Republican candidate Corey Stewart, who took the Republican nomination for the Senate in Virginia:

The real worry for national Republicans -- and the hope for Democrats -- is that Mr. Stewart’s nomination may cost some incumbent Republicans in Virginia their seats in Congress.


Virginia Democrats quickly moved to join Mr. Stewart at the hip to other Republicans in competitive House races.

“There is no place to hide -- you are either running with Corey Stewart and you condone his vile politics, or you don’t,” said Susan Swecker, the state Democratic chairwoman.

The Times quickly located potential Republican victims:

Mr. Stewart could especially hurt Representative Barbara Comstock, a Republican defending a seat in affluent Northern Virginia that is emblematic of how the state has been shifted from its once-fixed Republican moorings by an influx of immigrants and college-educated professionals. Hillary Clinton won in Ms. Comstock’s district, the 10th, by double digits in 2016.

Meanwhile, one Republican gave an all-too-accurate statement about how the media would cover Stewart going forward:

The center of gravity for the Republican Party in the state has shifted “from the country club to the country,” as one Republican strategist, Tom Davis, put it.

“Every candidate will be asked if they support Stewart,” said Mr. Davis, a former congressman from Virginia. “This is more nuanced than the media would have you believe, but in high-education areas, it is a killer.”


If the turnout pattern repeats in November, at least two other Republican House members besides Ms. Comstock could also be in trouble: Dave Brat and Scott Taylor.


Mr. Taylor angrily responded to a Twitter taunt from the state Democratic Party that asked him if he thought Mr. Stewart was a racist and whether the two men would campaign together.

And so on. Yet on the same page, any signs of interparty pressure on the Democratic side was totally absent from “Democrats Win Primary Despite Abuse Revelation.” The text box: “A House candidate from South Carolina speaks of redemption.”

Reporter Liam Stack offered no suggestions of Democratic hypocrisy on domestic violence in the age of #MeToo, and there was no attempt made to hang the candidacy over the heads of Democrats running for Congress, in South Carolina or elsewhere:

Archie Parnell, a Democratic House candidate who lost the support of his party after he admitted to physically abusing his ex-wife in the 1970s, handily won a primary in South Carolina on Tuesday.

Stack let Parnell cover himself:

In a statement posted to Facebook on Wednesday morning, Mr. Parnell said the result had left him “deeply honored and humbled.”

“Tonight, the people sent a clear message to everyone,” he wrote. “You don’t have to be defined by your worst mistake. You don’t have to be cast aside. You are not alone. You can be better. And, together, we can be better.”

Mr. Parnell’s campaign for the Democratic nomination nearly went off the rails in May when The Post and Courier, the Charleston newspaper, published divorce records that alleged he had beaten Kathleen Parnell, his wife at the time, in October 1973 after using a tire iron to break into an apartment where she was staying. Their divorce was finalized the following year.