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Is a Gay-Baiting Bishop Really Worth Losing the State Senate Over?

This is why a convention was a bad idea.

The Chesapeake bishop who clinched the Virginia GOP’s nomination for lieutenant governor this weekend has a history of crazy, unhinged statements that everyone from Buzzfeed to Bill Bolling have already criticized. Many of them are pretty standard charismatic fare, but there’s some genuinely offensive stuff in there too, like saying liberals “have done more to kill black folks whom they claim so much to love than the Ku Klux Klan, lynching and slavery and Jim Crow ever did.”

Ordinarily there’s a certain logic to putting someone who can please the party faithful on a ticket’s second slot—the Paul Ryan to Mitt Romney. But Cuccinelli is anything but a squish, and E.W. Jackson’s nomination does nothing but ensure a very conservative nominee is associated with his very conservative running mate’s crazy, unhinged statements.

More importantly, the LG is the tiebreaking vote in the state senate right now. The current Republican LG hasn’t reliably voted with his party (on transportation, voter ID and redistricting). But Jackson will not win. That means the state GOP didn’t just give up the lieutenant governorship, but control of the state legislature too.

Dave Weigel has more:

Democrats win in Virginia, in off-years, when they convince suburbanites that the GOP has lost its mind. They will point out that the lieutenant governor, rather unusually, has real clout in Virginia at the moment. The state Senate is evenly split between the parties, and the state’s second-highest ranking official gets to break the ties. Bolling provided key votes on a tax-hiking transportation plan and a voter ID bill. Jackson repeatedly told Republican activists why Bolling was wrong; if you’d have put him in the chair, he’d have sided with hardcore conservatives.

A month ago, before the party took him seriously, Jackson gave a long interview to an Internet radio host named Anna Yeisley, and told her that the lieutenant governor’s office would offer him even more than the vote. He’d approach it as a “platform to move this commonwealth into a conservative, constitutional direction when the legislature is not in session.”

Bearing Drift is much more optimistic.

about the author

Arthur Bloom is the former editor of The American Conservative online. He was previously deputy editor of the Daily Caller and a columnist for the Catholic Herald. He holds masters degrees in urban planning and American studies from the University of Kansas. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Spectator (UK), The Guardian, Quillette, The American Spectator, Modern Age, and Tiny Mix Tapes.

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