Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced on Friday that he is endorsing Virginia Delegate Nick Freitas, who is running for Democrat Tim Kaine’s U.S. Senate seat in the 2018 midterm elections.
“Nick Freitas is the real deal and I urge liberty conservatives and those who believe in the constitution and limited government to rally to his cause and campaign,” Paul’s endorsement reads. “Through his involvement in politics and as delegate, Nick has stood firm to principles while showing he is willing to work hard and fight for what he believes in.”
Freitas, 38, is a U.S. Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq and was elected to Virginia’s House of Delegates for the 30th District in 2015. He is competing in Virginia’s Republican primary against former GOP gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart and prominent Virginia Republican E.W. Jackson, to challenge Kaine.
Freitas told Rare Friday that he “absolutely” considers himself a “liberty Republican” like Paul.
“I look forward to showing the voters of Virginia why I am the across-the-board conservative Republican who can unite our party, win independents, and secure victory in November,” Freitas said of Paul’s endorsement. “I’m proud to stand with Rand and that he will stand with me.
When he announced his candidacy in December, the Washington Post said Freitas had “a conservative voting record and a libertarian streak.”
“I think liberty is the right to live my life the way I want without infringing upon someone else’s right to live their life the way they want to,” Freitas said Friday, said, noting that his campaign slogan is “liberty rising.”
In a phone interview with Rare, Freitas sounded classic libertarian themes.
“One of the things I like to remind people of is if you look at what free people have been able to accomplish, aircraft and smartphones, that’s free people, not government imposed solutions.” Freitas argued that the free market works, noting that the best ideas rise to the top if not hindered by government interference.
In addressing the various losses Virginia Republicans have faced in recent years, Freitas says his campaign is different, noting that his message is reoriented back to the “original” definition of what a Republican is supposed to be.
“We have to reorient the message back to what it means to be a Republican: a liberty-based message,” he said. Freitas argues that the Republican Party has unfortunately become associated with cronyism, using the government to benefit specific groups instead of equal protection under the law for all.
Among other issues, Freitas supports civil asset forfeiture reform and “a farmers ability to grow industrial hemp.” He believes these kinds of reforms can appeal to both Republicans and independents.
When asked if he could be counted on to challenge President Trump if need be, Freitas pointed out that he did not support Trump in the Virginia primary. “I wasn’t a Trump guy in the primary, I supported Rand Paul.”
“But I have to give credit where credit is due,” Freitas said. “Tax reform and regulatory reform has been excellent.”
When it comes to one of his opponents, Corey Stewart, Freitas notes that they simply have different approaches to handling issues. Freitas says he will let Virginia voters decide which candidate can “represent them best.”
Freitas had strong words of opposition for his Democratic rival and current seat holder Tim Kaine, arguing that the policies Kaine has supported have harmed Virginians.
“Senator Kaine’s first knee-jerk reaction seems to be ‘how can I take more money and freedom to give to the government to address this problem,’” he said. In order to win in 2018, Freitas said he wants to show Virginia voters how government overreach “invades our privacy, homes, and businesses.”
“Tim Kaine wants more of that,” he added. “He won’t say it, but that’s what he is advocating for.”
On foreign policy, Freitas applauds Sen. Paul and President Trump’s recent comments on cutting aid to Pakistan, arguing that the countries hostile to American beliefs are undeserving of foreign aid. “I am a green beret and did two combat tours in Iraq,” he said, adding that he is “very aware” of various countries that have contributed to the death of American servicemen and women by refusing to root out terrorist organizations within their own nations. “We need to take a close look at all foreign aid, and take a hard approach to countries like this,” he said. In addition, Freitas says he wants to see countries like Iran and Pakistan make greater strides to protecting human rights.
When it comes to mass surveillance on the part of the U.S. government, Freitas seems confident he would work with Sens. Paul and Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Senate to make sure the constitutional rights of Americans are protected. “We need an honest interpretation of the Fourth Amendment,” he said. “U.S. citizens should always be afforded due process of law. Period. The end,” he said.
Freitas has a consistent voting record when it comes to supporting the Second Amendment, noting that gun ownership is a “fundamental civil liberty” and not just a “pro-gun amendment.” He also opposes the federal war on drugs, calling it an example of executive overreach, and supports Rep. Tom Garrett’s (R-Va.) bill that would decriminalize marijuana on the federal level.
When asked if he can bridge any gaps between social conservatives and more libertarian-leaning Republicans, Freitas said voters should question what authority, if any, the government should have when it comes to controversial issues. “I am a very dedicated Christian. I am adamantly pro-life,” Freitas said, adding that the federal government has a duty to protect an unborn child’s right to life. He also added, “The government should remain neutral on a lot of (social) issues. That’s the conservative approach.”
The Republican primary for the United States Senate election in Virginia will be held on June 12th, 2018, while the general election will be held on November 6th, 2018.