CHESAPEAKE, Va. (CNN) — An outspoken and provocative conservative who emerged from Saturday’s Republican Party of Virginia Convention as the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor once compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan and blasted African-Americans for their “slavish devotion” to the Democratic Party.
E.W. Jackson, an African-American pastor and attorney from Chesapeake, made the comments in a self-produced “message to black Christians” posted on YouTube last year.
“The Democrat 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. Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was,” he said in the video. “And the Democrat Party and the black civil rights allies are partners in this genocide.”
Sensing an opportunity to tie Jackson to the rest of the Republican ticket in Virginia, especially conservative gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli, Democrats have already started highlighting those remarks and others in emails to reporters.
Cuccinelli, the state Attorney General, will face Democrat Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, in the November election.
Cuccinelli and Jackson were nominated at Saturday’s GOP convention in Richmond, where Jackson beat out six other candidates for the number two spot on the ticket. Party activists tapped Mark Obenshain to be their nominee for attorney general.
Jackson, the founder of a nondenominational church, is a former Marine and graduate of Harvard Law School. But he is rapidly becoming known for a raft of controversial statements that have bubbled up online in the wake of his surprise victory on Saturday. He has publicly questioned President Barack Obama’s faith and has been spearheading efforts to recruit black Democrats to the GOP since last year, when he unsuccessfully ran for Senate in Virginia.
“Shame on us for allowing ourselves to be sold to the highest bidder. We belong to God,” he said in the video. “Our ancestors were sold against their will centuries ago, but we’re going through the slave market voluntarily today.”
As lieutenant governor, Jackson would hold the tie-breaking vote in what is currently an evenly divided state Senate. Republicans currently hold the lieutenant governorship and control of the 40-seat body. But with the unpolished Jackson as the GOP nominee, Democrats are now a safe bet to pick up the lieutenant governor’s office and control of the senate.
Democrats will decide their nominee in a June 11 primary. To the frustration of establishment Republicans, GOP activists in the state chose to nominate their candidates at a convention instead of in a primary, a move that gave a relatively small group of conservative activists control over the nomination process.
A purple state, Virginia currently has a Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, but voted for Obama in the last two presidential elections.
Poll numbers so far show neither party with a sizable lead in the race, less than six months before Election Day. Because Virginia voters elect the governor and lieutenant governor separately, it’s possible that the winners could be from different parties.
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