WASHINGTON, DC (WDBJ7) Senator Tim Kaine has faced bruising campaigns before, including his race against George Allen in 2012, and the national campaign in 2016 that ended in defeat.
But 2018 promises to be different.
"Oh, we're going to have a lot of fun between now and November," Corey Stewart told a crowd of supporters Tuesday night.
Victorious in the GOP Senate primary, Stewart says he plans to rally a coalition of Trump supporters behind an aggressive campaign.
"I'm going to run the most vicious, ruthless, aggressive campaign against Tim Kaine that this state has ever seen," Stewart told WDBJ7 in a recent interview.
"I just don't think Virginians like the "ruthless and vicious," Senator Tim Kaine countered on Wednesday afternoon.
Kaine told reporters he isn't overconfident and won't underestimate Stewart, but he said he believes most Virginians are looking for a positive campaign.
"I think Virginians at the end of the day almost always go with the person they think runs a campaign that's more about vision, "Kaine said. "And I've got a vision that I've been pursuing since I was a civil rights lawyer back in the 80s and 90s, and now as an elected official."
Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 Political Analyst Bob Denton's advice? "Fasten your seatbelt."
"The broader issues are going to be a subtext," Denton said. "This is going to be all personal attacks as it relates to Tim Kaine, and by personalizing it that way I suspect it will also draw a lot of national attention."
President Trump has already weighed in, with a tweet describing Kaine as a "total stiff" "who is weak on crime and borders and wants to raise your taxes."
Kaine says he's battle-tested, and prepared to shrug off the insults, as he highlights the sharp differences between two candidates and their campaigns.