The Case Of The Disappearing Lt. Gov. Candidate In Virginia

E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia, is a running mate without a visible partner.

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Carolyn Kaster / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Republican candidate for Virginia lieutenant governor E.W. Jackson speaks during the Faith and Freedom Coalition Road to Majority 2013 conference, Saturday, June 15, 2013, in Washington.

E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia, is a running mate without a visible partner.

Two months ago, he had electrified the Virginia Republican nominating convention. “Everybody else had all these big expensive videos but Jackson just got up and gave a plain old speech,” says Tom Davis, a former Republican Virginia congressman. “He is a gifted orator,” he added. One of Jackson’s best-received lines was a statement on race to a mostly white-crowd. “I am proud to say that I am not an African-American. I am an American,” Jackson said to a roar.

Two months later, the public cheers have mostly faded away. Ken Cuccinelli, the GOP candidate for governor, has largely avoided public appearances with Jackson, and rarely discusses him on the record. “Just as in 2009, Ken Cuccinelli is running his own campaign, traveling across the Commonwealth and talking to people about the issues most important to them,” says Anna Nix, spokeswoman for the Cuccinelli campaign.

Meanwhile, the Democratic ticket, including Terry McAuliffe for governor, Norfolk state senator Ralph Northam for lieutenant governor and Loudoun state senator Mark Herring for attorney general, has been running as a single package. “All three candidates appear together regularly,” says Josh Schwerin, McAuliffe’s press secretary. “We’re running a strong coordinated campaign with three mainstream Democratic candidates running against a unified Tea Party ticket. That includes sharing offices and volunteers and making joint event appearances.”

The reason for the Republican disunity can be traced to the litany of controversial statements Jackson has made that could hurt Cuccinelli’s efforts to court moderate voters.  “I assume [Jackson] is probably not congruent with [Cuccinelli’s] plans to move to the center,” said Davis, who supports both candidates.

“Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was,” Jackson said last year. He has also described a “direct connection” between homosexuality and pedophilia, saying both are a “matter of sexual freedom.” On Twitter Jackson called President Obama “Anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, pro-Islam, anti-capitalist.”

The result is a campaign where the two Republican candidates are keeping their distance. “Jackson received a very blunt private message from the Cuccinelli campaign: Keep up the controversies and you’ll be rebuked publicly by the leader of your ticket,” says Larry Sabato, the director for the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “Jackson can be useful to the GOP in certain places, like evangelical churches, but on the whole, the less he’s seen, the better.”

When asked to remark upon some of Jackson’s controversial statements, Cuccinelli’s campaign declined to take a position. “I am just not going to defend my running mates’ statements at every turn,” Cuccinelli told the Washington Post after the convention.

The Cuccinelli campaign would not comment on when the running mates are planned to appear in public next. Requests to talk to Jackson by TIME went unanswered, and a campaign spokesperson declined to disclose Jackson’s next planned event with Cuccinelli. But Cuccinelli and Jackson have occasionally crossed paths, taking to Virginia Beach in early July for Filipino-American Friendship Day. Cuccinelli’s campaign posted photos of the event to his  Facebook page, although none with Jackson.

Meanwhile, Jackson’s opponent in the lieutenant governor race, Democratic state Sen. Ralph Northam, has been boasting of his closeness to McAuliffe. “The last time I was with him was Saturday night in Northern Virginia,” he told TIME. “I would say in the ballpark of three or four times a week we’ll be at the same venue.” Northam has raised over $830,000 in his campaign, more than twice as much as Jackson, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

At times during the campaign, Jackson has portrayed himself as an ideological twin to Cuccinelli.  “I’ve heard that this ticket is probably more homogeneous than almost any ticket in the history of Virginia, so there’s no stark disagreement between us,” Jackson said in a radio interview with WMAL. Cuccinelli would later separate himself from Jackson, saying he doesn’t know much about Jackson’s positions, especially compared to attorney general candidate Mark Obenshain, who Cuccinelli worked with for six years in the state senate.

Part of the tension arises from the way Jackson was picked for the Republican ticket. Jackson won on the fourth ballot after nearly ten hours of debate at a closed GOP convention in Richmond. Davis says that of the more than 8,000 people that attended the convention for the first ballot, by the fourth that number had dropped to around 4,500. When Jackson ran for Senate in 2012 in an open primary, he garnered less than 5% of the vote. “When you get to conventions, this is what you get,” says Davis. “You’re not going to get a representative sample of Virginia Republicans.”

13 comments
RichardSimpkins
RichardSimpkins

This race may be as or more important than the governor's race.  The lieutenant governor breaks ties in the Virginia senate, and the senate is evenly split 20/20 between the parties.  The GOP controls the lower house.  Let's say Cuccinelli wins and but Jackson doesn't.  Northam would have a virtual veto on anything the legislature passes on a purely partisan basis, even if Cuccinelli wants to sign it! 

anti-government
anti-government

This guy has no chance of being elected. He's too extreme even for Virginia Republicans.

Like all extreme Right Wing nuts. he has the occasional thought-provoking comment, but even his ticket-mates are avoiding him so you know he's going nowhere.

Mr. Jackson has no special knowledge of the cosmos and is in no position to say who is anti-God.

It's offensive to have this boob attempt to say that God is on his side but not mine.  

reallife
reallife

Black and Republican? how dare you!

Not allowed!


fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

"I am proud to say I am not an African-American, I am an American."  Doesn't he know that they are not mutually exclusive?  And then why was he at Filipino-American Friendship day?  Was he there to say, "Don't be Filipino-Americans, be Americans!!"  Note, you never hear other politicians say, "I am not Irish-American, I am American!" or "I am not a Greek-American, I am an American."  Why is it that some "African-American" politicians feel the need to disregard their heritage?  And please note, who is doing the cheering?

mandycat
mandycat

So what's going on with the GOP candidate for State Attorney General?  You know, the one who several years proposed legislation requiring women to report their miscarriages to the police within 48 hours or face up to a year in prison.  He and the Bishop sound like a match made in Heaven.

labman57
labman57

Ann Coulter called -- she wants her sanctimonious rhetoric back.

The problem with many Christian conservatives is that they are long on self-righteousness and short on selflessness, long on callousness and short on compassion, long on intimidation and short on tolerance.

The values and mores of ANY religion have absolutely no place in politics with respect establishing public policy or writing legislation.  We need to focus on secular, societal ethical behavior and leave religious morality in the church and within every individual's home. 

Spirituality comes in many forms.  Whether or not an individual regards themselves as a Christian says nothing about the person's character or value as a human being, nor does it speak to their loyalty and patriotism toward our nation.

The notion that one group of religions is more righteous or more American than any other ( or that agnostics and atheists are inherently less patriotic than are citizens who believe in some form of God) is contrary to the tenets established by our founding fathers when they endorsed the "separation of church and state"as a fundamental concept in the US Constitution.

MrBenGhazi
MrBenGhazi

I won't be surprised if some DNC dollars go into this guy's campaign. Giving him a larger microphone will only spell disaster for the GOP in this race.

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

There is a good reason Ken Cuccinelli wants to keep his distance of E. W. Jackson.  Rev. Jackson does not help in getting the redneck - cracker - KKK vote.

MrObvious
MrObvious

Trollbots like to harp on about the perverted liberals. Not that I agree; seems like GOP have plenty of sexual deviants in their ranks. But i think it's fairly clear that GOP have cornered the nutty fringe niche. Nothing on the left hand side comes close to the collection of off the wall downright pure crazy congregating among GOPers that share an astonishing amount similarity to a large portion of the GOP base.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Welcome back EW. Long time no hear from.

The “anti-God” party

You can't be a Christian and a Democrat at the same time, Virginia's GOP candidate for Lieutenant Governor says VIDEO



gysgt213
gysgt213

Gee, He seems like such a swell guy too.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

What was the old bumper sticker? "Virginia is for nutters"?

The top of the ticket running away from the second name on the ballot is just McCain/Palin all over again.

anti-government
anti-government

@reallife It's not that he's Black that is the problem. The problem is that he is a Right Wing idiot who is out of touch with reality. He thinks he knows whose side God is on! That's crazy.