Virginians will vote in a primary Tuesday to determine which Republican candidate will challenge incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine in November. Corey Stewart, the Chairman for the Board of Supervisors of Prince William County, E. W. Jackson, a minister in Chesapeake and Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) are contending for the Republican nomination. Out of these three, Freitas not only best represents the ideals and vision of the Republican Party, but he is also the most viable competitor against Kaine. Stewart and Jackson both present effective ideas and visions for needed reforms in Washington, but their records cast doubt as to their electability in a general election against Sen. Kaine. Stewart remains a polarizing character in Virginia politics, running a campaign reminiscent of President Donald Trump’s in a state that the president lost. Jackson, on the other hand, lost his Lieutenant Governor race against current Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in 2013 by 11 points. When considering what candidate to support, voters must find the balance between choosing candidates that best represent their interests while also remaining competitive in elections. In the upcoming primary, conservative voters will be confronted with three distinct facets of the Republican Party. Stewart represents the party of President Trump — his tough stance on illegal immigration and focus on working-class voters aligns with the new direction the party has taken under its current leadership. Jackson, on the other hand, embodies the grassroots movement of the party, grounded in traditional conservative values that resonate with evangelical voters. While both populist and evangelical voters comprise significant portions of the Republican electorate, Freitas’s platform grounded in constitutional principles provides the most common ground upon which different elements of the GOP can coalesce. Freitas’s candidacy finds a balance that compensates for Jackson’s lack of experience and Stewart’s polarizing persona. Not only does Freitas’s candidacy provide the most effective alternative to Kaine in the general election, but his platform has the potential resonate strongly with Virginians of varying political backgrounds. Being a staunch defender of Second Amendment rights, educational freedom and limited government, among other issues, Freitas’s vision has the potential to not only win significant support among traditional conservatives but also independent voters, who would seek an alternative to Kaine’s platform. Although the debate concerning the Second Amendment and access to firearms has grown more contentious in recent years in response to mass shootings across the country, Freitas’s defense of gun rights has garnered national attention. His address criticizing characterizations of gun rights advocates in politics to the Virginia General Assembly went viral earlier this year, with his logic and arguments in favor of a respectful debate providing a stark contrast to the decaying climate of discourse in national politics. Freitas’s philosophy towards the role of government and attitude affirming the responsibility citizens hold for themselves addresses systemic issues within the federal government. Consistently during both Republican and Democratic administrations, the cost and size of government has expanded with detrimental effects on the American economy and its continued competitiveness. While Freitas offers solutions that empowers citizens instead over institutions, Kaine’s proposals stifle the agency of the individual. Kaine’s support of more pronounced government interference in the economy — such as mandating a $15 minimum wage — would have devastating effects on job growth and rural economies, including those in Virginia. Although the movement to legislate such a minimum wage has gained popularity in the progressive movement, its negative impact on workers and the economy fail to deliver the prosperity its proponents allege. In addition, minority youth are especially vulnerable to such policies. Additionally, at a debate held at the University in April, Freitas articulated the appropriate role of government and the individual more clearly than both of his fellow contenders. His commitment to fiscal responsibility, a concern that leaders of both parties seem to have abandoned considering the consistent increase in government spending and the federal deficit, is needed to address the unsustainable practices that Congress has adopted. Washington’s current leaders have failed to address these challenges. New leaders like Freitas are what is needed to correct this trend. As the election approaches, not only should conservative, libertarian and Republican voters support Freitas in the primary, but citizens of all political affiliations should consider supporting him in the general election should he obtain the nomination. His platform of strengthening individual liberties and defending constitutional protections advances the interests of all Virginians and represents needed change in the political climate of Washington. Thomas Ferguson is an Opinion columnist for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com.