Va. gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart stops by Roanoke

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) A Virginia gubernatorial candidate stopped by Roanoke Saturday afternoon.

Sara Machi/WDBJ7

Corey Stewart hopes to become the Commonwealth's new governor by embracing the state's past. "And you know, look, I think this is the most important issue in this campaign. It really is. Some people see this as just a matter of a statue," Stewart said, referring to the plan to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from a Charlottesville park. "It's not. This is about whether or not we're going to control and we're going to support our heritage and whether or not we're going to defend it. If we let this go we've lost everything."

"This is about defending Virginia's heritage. This is about defending Virginia's history, which we all love. And we're going to push back and we're going to make in-roads to reclaiming our heritages here in the Commonwealth," Stewart told the gathering at a downtown Roanoke restaurant.

Stewart told voters he'd cut funds for any municipality that tried to distance itself from Confederate history.

After our original story was posted, a Stewart campaign staff member emailed us on Sunday correcting the candidate saying, "Mr. Stewart does feel Virginia's Heritage is a very important issue, but NOT the most important issue of the campaign. We have many serious issues that the citizens of Commonwealth of Virginia are currently facing. Mr. Stewart expressed he was speaking about character."

The staff member asked that we share this quote from Stewart, "If a candidate doesn't even have enough backbone, or character, to stand up for Virginia Heritage, then how can you trust he will stand up for anything else?"

You can watch the full interview for yourself in the video on the top right, labeled "Corey Stewart Interview."