A top campaign consultant to Corey Stewart, the Republican nominee for US Senate in Virginia, once wrote in a Facebook post that black Americans should “stop whining about ‘racism.’”
Rick Shaftan, the Stewart media and polling adviser who made the comment, has in the past disparaged prominent Civil Rights figures like John Lewis and Rosa Parks, described majority-black cities as “sh**holes” and told his followers not to open businesses in black neighborhoods, The Daily Beast reported
“Message to black people, stop whining about ‘racism.’ Everyone else, including other ‘minorities’ are getting sick of hearing about it and no longer care that your feelings are hurt,” Shaftan wrote in a July 2016 Facebook post. “It’s not 1964 any more. You’ve lost public sympathy. The only people you have left are old guilty whites and they’re dying off.”
“My conservative black friends understand this, but they are all in the 0.1% of blacks that didn’t vote for Obama,” he added.
Shaftan’s consulting firm, Atlantic Media & Research, has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by Stewart’s campaign during Stewart’s 2017 run for governor and current bid for US Senate, according to election records. Last month, Stewart cut ties with spokesman and consultant Noel Fritsch, who, as CNN’s KFile previously reported, spread conspiracies and made anti-Muslim comments.
In his latest FEC filing this month, Stewart paid Shaftan’s firm an additional $16,409 dollars.
Stewart is running against Democratic incumbent Tim Kaine. The most recent polling of the race, conducted September 4-9 by the University of Mary Washington and SSRS, showed Kaine leading 52% to 36% among likely voters. CNN rates the race as a Solid Democrat.
A spokesperson for Stewart’s campaign declined to comment for this story.
Stewart is not the only candidate who has paid Shaftan’s company for work this year. FEC records, first noted by the liberal watchdog group Media Matters, show that Republican congressional candidates Wendy Rogers in Arizona and Seth Grossman in New Jersey both paid Shaftan’s firm for work.
The National Republican Congressional Committee pulled support for Grossman earlier this year. CNN’s KFile team reported that Grossman, who railed against diversity, had a history of anti-Muslim comments. Rogers is running against incumbent Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran in an Arizona district that he last carried by seven percentage points, and Hillary Clinton won by a narrow margin in 2016.
Shaftan, according to two other posts on his Facebook account, believes that most African-Americans are racist against whites.
“The reason race relations are in the sad state they are today is not hatred of blacks by whites but hatred of ‘whites’ (defined as anyone not black) by African-Americans,” Shaftan wrote in July 2015.
“Normal Black people in this country need to speak out against the vile anti-‘white’ racist views of the overwhelming majority of African-Americans in this country. These racists have self-segregated and hate those who do not look like them,” he stated in December 2014.
Even after Shaftan’s past comments were reported by CNN, the Daily Beast and others, the consultant to Stewart has continued to comment on racial issues. On September 19, 2018, Shaftan linked to an article about a New Jersey schools superintendent wanting a public apology from another school district for a player on their football team using the N-word in social media post about the opposing team’s players.
“#WhyTrumpWon,” Shaftan wrote.