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Rory Stolzenberg @RoryStolzenberg
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Tomorrow, Virginians decide whether to vote Corey Stewart into the US Senate.

Tomorrow marks 451 days since 8/12/17, the weekend when violent neo-Nazis came to beat & murder people on the streets outside my home.

How is Corey Stewart responsible?

Let me count the ways.

Most of the world is familiar with the scenes of tiki torches, swastikas, and mob beatings from the weekend when white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Klansmen & genocidal bigots of every stripe all teamed up.

But this story starts months before Charlottesville became #Charlottesville.
Six months earlier, an unlikely friendship began between an irrelevant blogger looking for exposure and an underdog candidate trying to make a name for himself. Over months of joint events, Corey Stewart and Jason Kessler cultivated a mutually beneficial alliance. (3/55)
In January 2017, Jason Kessler is a mostly unknown local reactionary. In between penning poetry and dwarf erotica, Kessler dabbles with the alt-right. He gains minor local notoriety for punching a 53yo man in the face while gathering petition signatures.…
The petition is the center of a personal crusade against @DrWesBellamy, then Cville's only black city councilor, which started when Bellamy called for a boycott of a restaurateur/adjunct professor who called BLM "the biggest rasist org since the clan"[sic]…
Kessler had just launched his new organization, Unity and Security for America. Its website bore a logo of a frog with the phrase "Kek is with us" and a set of policies including strict quotas on non-white immigration. (6/55)…
On Jan. 31, Kessler disrupted a speech by Gold Star father and Cville local Khizr Khan during a rally organized by then-mayor @MikeSigner to declare Charlottesville the ‘Capital of the Resistance’ following Trump's inauguration. (7/55)…
Meanwhile, Corey Stewart is a county supervisor from NoVa (via Duluth, MN) in his first bid for statewide office, for governor. Fresh off being fired from the Trump campaign for being too obnoxious, he's found that edginess & race-baiting get him press.…
Such is the setting in which our ill-fated protagonists meet. Both have found their boogeyman, in the form of a liberal college town proposing to remove a statue from a tiny park that nobody goes to.

Once they connect, they waste little time in planning their joint crusade.
Saturday Feb. 11: Corey Stewart has a rally for his gubernatorial campaign in Charlottesville's Market St (then-Lee) Park, where he meets Kessler for the first time. They evidently hit it off, because Stewart accepts Kessler's invitation to come back for……
Thursday Feb. 16: Stewart & Kessler hold their first joint event, a press conference next to City Hall (at CitySpace) to submit the petition calling for Bellamy to resign.…
Excerpts from @gmoomaw's article on that event:

“The Lee statue, he said, is a cultural artifact of 'ethnic significance to Southern white people.'”

“Kessler suggested on Twitter that whites had adopted the Nazi label as a term of endearment.'”

Tuesday Feb. 21: Stewart & Kessler hold a jointly organized rally at Charlottesville's Free Speech Wall to complain about the potential removal of the Lee statue (and the “tyrants” in the “liberal wacko left”).

Saturday Mar. 4: Kessler heads to Richmond to confront protesters at Stewart's 'End Sanctuary Cities' rally attacking @LevarStoney. (14/55)

Stewart's speech at that rally began: “You know what, I’ve got a lot of people here to thank, but I want to start by thanking all these lunatics over here for bringing out the press.”

His game in a nutshell. (15/55)…
Friday Mar. 31: Stewart & Kessler hold a rally outside sitting Congressman @RepTomGarrett's town hall at UVa. (16/55)…
Stewart held this event despite not being invited by Garrett, not representing Charlottesville in any way, and having no real reason to be there at all.

But they knew they'd be protested by leftists, which would make the media give them the attention they so desperately seek.
Kessler brought a Pepe sign and a shield "to fend off the 'antifas'".

I believe this is the first instance of such items being used publicly in Charlottesville. In a few months we'd see them in the hands of dozens of young neo-Nazis — plus clubs, spears, pepper spray & guns.
The cofounder of Kessler's 'Unity and Security' organization, Isaac Smith, introduced Stewart's speech & claimed credit for inviting him. Neoconfederate brothers George & Gregory Randall served as Stewart's informal bodyguards. (More on them later.)…
You counted right: Corey Stewart appeared with Jason Kessler *five* times in February & March of 2017.

Four appearances were in Charlottesville. Three were events explicitly organized jointly between Stewart's campaign & Kessler's anti-immigrant group.

April 2017 is a big month for Jason Kessler's path to leading the largest neo-Nazi gathering in a generation.

On April 6 he goes to DC to attend Richard Spencer's protest supporting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad against US airstrikes. (21/55)…
By this point, his teamwork with Stewart has elevated his stature within the alt-right. He meets Spencer and Eli Mosley, national alt-right leaders. Spencer, a UVa alum, has caught wind of the controversy in Cville and invites Kessler to coordinate. They plan a rally on May 13.
May 13: Spencer and Kessler hold a rally in then-Lee Park. After nightfall, they return for the first tiki torch march in Charlottesville.

They chant “You will not replace us” and “Russia is our friend,” then disperse after police show up, leaving a trail of Nazi trash. (23/55)
Corey Stewart, on the other hand, pointedly avoids the subject.

First, he and campaign staffer Noel Fritsch insist that they can't comment because it's Mother's Day:…

On Monday May 15, two days after the torch rally, Stewart broadcasts a stream titled "It's Time to Denounce" on Facebook Live.

In it, he manages to condemn just about everybody in Virginia *except* Kessler & Spencer. He does not mention the torch rally.…
Two days after Stewart's close associate rallied with an advocate of ethnic cleansing, he condemns @WashingtonPost @EdWGillespie, Richmond, Fairfax, @DomEnergyVA @TerryMcAuliffe @DrWesBellamy @RalphNortham @tomperriello & @DrWesBellamy again.

Not Nazis.…
June 13: Kessler delivers a hearty endorsement to Stewart on primary day. Stewart narrowly loses, beating expectations.

To Stewart, this proves that a strategy built on embracing white nationalism is a winning strategy. He quickly plots a bid for Senate.…
July 8: Separate from Kessler/Spencer/Stewart, ~20 KKKers drive up from North Carolina for a pathetic 'rally' in then-Jackson Park. Late, mocked & shouted down, they leave in 30 mins. (Soon after, the police tear gas remaining protesters despite a lack of proper orders.)

The next part you know. (c/w A11+A12)

Friday, Aug. 11:
Kessler & Spencer, after lying to the police about their plans, gather hundreds of neo-Nazis for an unpermitted tiki torch march on UVa's Lawn, where they surround & attack a small group of counterprotesters. (30/55)
If you’re unfamiliar with August 11, watch this live stream from inside of the mob encirclement. Start at the very end and work your way back. (31/55)
Saturday, August 12: The fascist mob from the night before (and more) converges on downtown Charlottesville, armed with shields, clubs, and flags bearing assorted fascist symbols on sharpened flagpoles meant for spearing people.
By 10am (over 2 hours before their permit began), they'd already begun attacking citizens on the street.

By 1:30, KKK Imperial Wizard Richard Preston had shot a gun at Corey Long in plain view, 4 men jumped DeAndre Harris in a parking garage, and dozens more had been assaulted.
By then, Heather Heyer was at the head of a march of ~400 protesters down Water St & across the pedestrian mall at 4th St, about 800ft from where I sit.

At 1:41, a Nazi got his car, turned onto the mall, backed up, and held his accelerator — murdering Heyer & hospitalizing 30+.
August 13: Corey Stewart still won't condemn Kessler. He lambasts other Republicans who do: "All the weak Republicans, they couldn’t apologize fast enough. They played right into the hands of the left wing." (35/55)…
July 2018: Corey Stewart's personal government aide, Brian Landrum, is found to be one of the 20 members in Jason Kessler's planning chatroom for Unite the Right 2. Landrum remains on the Prince William County payroll. (36/55)…
Corey Stewart was indispensable to August 12. His work to elevate Jason Kessler directly created the capacity to put on a neo-Nazi gathering of that magnitude in Charlottesville. His imprimatur legitimizes the effort to shoehorn overt fascism into the Republican mainstream.
August 12 was indispensable to Corey Stewart. Without clutching a Confederate flag and winks & nods towards his friends with swastikas, Stewart is an unremarkable carpetbagging county politician.

His star rises and falls with the entryist fascists joining the GOP to support him.
That's just one murderous fascist riot though, you say! Hardly sufficient to write him off as a racist, or at least as a self-interested Nazi enabler more interested in his own political fortunes than whether his new friends kill people.

So, who else does Stewart associate with?
June 4, 2018: @The_DailyWire finds a video from Jan. 2017 on Stewart's own Youtube account in which he praises prominent antisemite and former congressional candidate Paul Nehlen as a 'personal hero'. (40/55)

(h/t @KassyDillon)
In the blowback from that video release, while deflecting from Nehlen, Stewart gives a negative quote on Kessler for the very first time. He lies to WaPo & TWS about their associations, claiming "I only met with him twice," (41/55)……
Punctuating his lie about supporting Nehlen only "before he went nuts and started spewing a bunch of stupid stuff," @KFILE soon finds a video from *November* 2017…

Stewart talks of "overthrowing the Establishment" to put in "real conservatives like Paul"
June 2018: Stewart's campaign names Ian MacDonald named "Volunteer of the Week'. MacDonald prefers to identify with the American Nazi Party over the Republican Party.…
June 13, 2018: Stewart wins the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.…
July 29: @KellyWeill posts tweets from top Corey Stewart aide Rick Shaftan calling majority-black cities "shitholes" and warning against opening businesses in black neighborhoods. (45/55)…
August 1: @KFILE uncovers more tweets by Shaftan, in which he disparages civil rights leaders & calls John Boehner a "House Negro." Shaftan responds by adding Jesse Helms, who led a 16-day filibuster against MLK Day, to his profile picture. (46/55)…
Another aide, Thomas Dees, called Stewart "literally the second coming of Jesse Helms" not long before. Dees left the campaign to go work for Seth Grossman, a candidate who praised an article calling blacks “a threat to all who cross their paths.” (47/55)…
Then there's Noel Fritsch, who came to the Stewart campaign via Paul Nehlen and Roy Moore. Fritsch promulgated conspiracy theories about Pizzagate & Seth Rich, called John McCain a 'bitch' & defended Kessler's rally — all amid a hefty dose of Islamophobia.…
Stewart fired Fritsch in August, apparently worried that Fritsch showing his 'power level' that brazenly was drawing too much negative attention. (49/55)…
Brothers Gregory and George Randall acted as Stewart's bodyguards throughout his series of events in spring 2017. George's wife Donna was paid for 'fieldwork consulting' by the campaign. (50/55)…
All three are openly members of the League of the South, a neo-Confederate organization that honors John Wilkes Booth and adopts the 14 Words. They deny being Klansmen.

All three attended the August 12 riot. George marched next to David Duke.

We know LOTS coordinates with even-more-extremist neo-Nazi groups like the Rise Above Movement, which was recently dismantled by federal indictments for travelling to Virginia to incite a riot. (52/55)

The evidence is overwhelming: Corey Stewart embraces and supports white supremacists. He played an integral role in August 12.

I expect this thread is less than comprehensive, despite my best efforts. Undoubtedly there are more of Stewart's unsavory activities I've missed.
Stewart represents a new phase in neo-Nazis' resurgence: a concerted effort to enter the Republican Party, pack it with sympathizers & push their agenda from the inside. (54/55)
Tomorrow, Virginia decides. We voters either show an appetite for this entryist fascism, or deliver it a strong rebuke. The question at hand is our commitment to pluralist liberal democracy itself.

The choice is ours.

Thanks to @stefsaul @LVozzella @gmoomaw @KFILE @KELLYWEILL & @calebecarma for your hard work this year & last dredging up all of Stewart's repugnant associations. I couldn't have done all this without you — and wouldn't have done it if not for your stories' omissions!
Extra special thanks to @craftypanda, @Suarez_CM, and the rest of the @DailyProgress crew for covering this long before the rest of the world was watching. I should've paid more attention to your articles at the time.
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