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EW Jackson Keeps GOP Establishment at Arms Length

Image: EW Jackson Keeps GOP Establishment at Arms Length

Wednesday, 04 Sep 2013 04:14 PM

E.W. Jackson, the Virginia Republican whose controversial comments on Planned Parenthood and homosexuality have made national headlines, is refusing his party's suggestions to tone done his rhetoric and avoid hot-button issues, in his quest to become the state's lieutenant governor, according to a Washington Post report.

As Republican leaders and Jackson keep their distance from each other, the outspoken minister continues to please his staunch supporters, while frustrating some GOP rank-and-file loyalists. He has also refused his party's help, including voter data and more than 40 field offices around the state, four Republican operatives told the paper.

Meanwhile, Jackson's message continues to stray from job creation, to focus on calls for limiting the federal government's reach, promoting gun rights, and resisting "Obamacare." His relentless refusal of assistance has led some Republicans to worry that he will hurt his own campaign as well as the chances of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the GOP's gubernatorial candidate.

He called Democrats the "anti-God party" last month for supporting abortion rights and gay marriage, and some Republicans fear that it reflects poorly on the whole ticket, which would sway voters, GOP strategists told the paper.

"Their campaign seems to want to do their own thing," one of the operatives anonymously told the Post. "People have reached out to E.W.'s campaign and that help has been rejected."

State political parties routinely provide those who seek office assistance in identifying which voters to target with phone calls, home visits, and mailings. With national funding, they also provide field offices around Virginia where individual campaigns can staff phone banks and use office supplies.

Another strategist said: "There's a very strong anti-establishment vein in this. They are laying the groundwork actively to blame somebody else — the establishment — for losing."

A member of Jackson's campaign declined to comment on whether the campaign was utilizing the party's data and logistical help, claiming he wouldn't respond to anonymous comments.

Jackson, the pastor of Exodus Faith Ministries, won the nomination at a May convention, beating six other candidates. In his 2008 book, "Ten Commandments to an Extraordinary Life," Jackson pontificated that yoga can lead to Satanic possession and wrote, "While giving to the poor is important, the most powerful giving for wealth building is upward giving," according to National Review reporter Betsy Woodruff.

For his part, Cuccinelli is disassociating himself from Jackson. He told WMAL radio on Friday that he wants to be judged independently.

"That's the way Virginia voters operate," he said. "They have a history of making decisions one office at a time and E.W.'s going to have to introduce himself individually to the rest of Virginia, something that I did in 2009 as attorney general and frankly that I’m doing again for governor. It is different for different offices, but there's no question that we've got to get over the line each of us one at a time."

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