(WASHINGTON) — This weekend, Virginia Republicans found their candidate for lieutenant governor in E.W. Jackson, a Chesapeake, Va. pastor who has compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan and also suggested that black Americans are being enslaved by the Democratic Party.
“It is time to end the slavish devotion to the Democrat[ic] Party,” Jackson, who is African American, said in a 2012 YouTube video. “Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was. And the Democrat[ic] Party and their black civil rights allies are partners in this genocide.”
“The Democrat[ic] Party has created an unholy alliance between certain, so-called civil rights leaders and Planned Parenthood, which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions,” he added.
The statements have been catnip for Democrats eager to jump on the opportunity to label Jackson as “extreme” and link him to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is the Republican nominee for the closely watched gubernatorial race.
“This choice highlights just how out-of-touch the Republican Party of Virginia has become,” wrote Aneesh Chopra, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, in a prepared statement. “Jackson’s extreme views are far to the right of Virginia voters. In fact, Jackson is far more extreme than Ken Cuccinelli — which is quite a feat.”
The emergence of Jackson’s video isn’t the result of opposition research. It was put on the Internet by Jackson’s own campaign long before this weekend’s Republican Party of Virginia Convention. In fact, the video has been around long enough that it was reported on in 2012, when Jackson’s race for a U.S. Senate seat received almost no notice.
Then, Jackson, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and graduate of Harvard Law School, lost 95 percent of the Republican vote in his bid for the Senate nomination and the video became a casualty of post-election amnesia.
The video, and Jackson, have since re-emerged, mostly because being nominated as the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor is far easier than winning a statewide primary.
Because of the quirkiness of Virginia’s electoral system, which allows lieutenant governors to be elected separately from governors, and the Virginia Republican nomination process, which produces a nominee who wins a majority of only 13,000 possible delegate votes, Jackson could end up as Virginia’s lieutenant governor whether Cuccinelli wins or loses.
Jackson has compared Planned Parenthood’s support for abortion to genocide, railed against homosexuality, suggested that gay activists harbor an anti-black agenda and said that the Democratic Party is anti-Israel.
The question is whether efforts to link Jackson to Cuccinelli will be successful.
Democrats point out that Cuccinelli endorsed Jackson as a “powerful fighter and communicator for first principles.”
But asked for comment on Monday, Cuccinelli’s camp did not immediately respond.
The Republican Governors Association declined to comment on Jackson’s controversial statements.
“Ken Cuccinelli is running a focused campaign on job growth and pocketbook issues that are important to voters in the Commonwealth,” said Jon Thompson, the RGA’s spokesperson. “We are confident that come Election Day, voters will elect Cuccinelli as governor based on his ideas and his proven record of fighting for all Virginians.”
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