Virginia GOP Senate candidate Corey Stewart resorted to labeling Michigan’s Muslim gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed an “ISIS Commie.”

Following El-Sayed’s loss in Michigan’s Democratic primary Tuesday, Stewart expressed his relief at the outcome in a now-deleted tweet. “Michigan almost elected a far left ISIS commie,” he wrote. The tweet then went on to warn voters against reelecting his opponent, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine: “This guy wants to abolish ICE and won 300,000 votes. Dangerous stuff. Don’t let wimpy @timkaine bring this dangerous stuff to VA.”


During his campaign, El-Sayed advocated for the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as universal Medicare and increased minimum wage. He was publicly favored by a number of progressive figures including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and New York congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. If he had been elected, he would have become the nation’s first Muslim governor.


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Shortly after the tweet was posted, Stewart deleted it and publicly retracted the claims it made. He then clarified that someone else was behind the controversial tweet. He said it must have been posted by a vendor whom his campaign had hired to attract more voters via social media.

“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,” Stewart 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.”

Stewart himself had previously run into campaign troubles with supposed “guilt by association.” In June, he had received backlash over his connections with a number of alt-right figures including the self-proclaimed “pro-white” congressional candidate Paul Nehlen as well as the “Unite the Right” rally organizer Jason Kessler.

El-Sayed has since made light of the controversial tweet by adding his own comments.

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