VA GOP Lt Governor candidate E.W. Jackson
WASHINGTON — The Republican candidate for Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, Rev. E.W. Jackson, is getting a decidedly cool response from his state’s Republican establishment in Washington, who weren’t eager to associate themselves with the conservative firebrand’s history of anti-gay and anti-abortion statements.
Republicans have largely, and happily, lined up behind Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the GOP’s candidate for governor. But Jackson’s surprise win at the state’s nominating convention last weekend immediately had Republicans fretting about his effect on Cuccinelli’s bid against Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
So just how toxic is Jackson, who once said homosexuals were “very sick”?
“I’m not going to comment on him,” said Rep. Frank Wolf of Jackson. “I endorsed Ken Cuccinelli, I think he’ll do a great job. I’ve worked with him on prison reform, and he’s a very good candidate.”
“No, I’m not saying anything.”
Jackson defended his comments to a Fredericksburg paper on Tuesday and said they were a part of his religious beliefs.
“I’m a Christian. It’s not because I hate anybody. But because I have religious values that matter to me. So attacking me because I adhere to those principles is attacking every churchgoing person, every family that’s living a traditional family life, everybody that believes we all deserve to live,” he said. “I don’t have anything to rephrase or apologize for. People should not paint me as one dimensional.”
Even Cuccinelli, a social conservative himself, wouldn’t comment to the Washington Post about views Jackson has held.
“I am just not going to defend my running mates’ statements at every turn,” he said. “They’ve got to explain those themselves. Part of this process is just letting Virginia voters get comfortable with us, on an individual basis, personally.”
Outgoing Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, a moderate Republican who withdrew his bid for governor late last year, came out harshly against Jackson’s statements.
“These kinds of comments are simply not appropriate, especially not from someone who wants to be a standard bearer for our party and hold the second highest elected office in our state,” he told Politico.
More: Virginia Republicans Aren’t Flocking to Anti-Gay Lieutenant Governor Hopeful