May 21, 2013
The newly-selected Republican nominees for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general are touring the state, and they came to speak to supporters in Albemarle County on Tuesday.
"We're going to get government off our backs, off our property, off our guns, out of our families," said E.W. Jackson, the Chesapeake minister chosen as the lieutenant governor nominee.
"We believe we have a message for the black community, for the Hispanic community, Filipino, Asian community, for single women, for poor people," said Jackson.
The candidate has been criticized for some comments he's made against homosexuality and abortion. He says he follows what he preaches, and others should, too.
"When you go to church on Sunday morning and you listen to a sermon that says that life is sacred, that tells you that marriage is as God defined it, and then you are asked to, or in some cases demanded to vote for people who don't believe either of those principles and you go along with it, then clearly you've got to rethink what you're doing," Jackson said.
Positions like that have put these candidates at odds with women's groups in the past, but Ken Cuccinelli, the nominee for governor, says he is fighting for things women really care about.
"For years I've been supportive of issues that I think they find strike the heart more, like mental health," said Cuccinelli.
Renee Cothran brought her children to hear these candidates speak, and she says she agrees with their vision for the state.
"I like that they're conservative," said Cothran. "We were given certain rights, and we need to follow those rights and leave the government out of a lot of other things."
"They believe that this country was based on Christian values," said another supporter, Frances Garwood. "They also believe that the constitution says what it says."
Cuccinelli did not talk very much about social issues during the visit. He says he is focused just on the economy.
"It all starts with jobs and economic growth," said Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli wants to cut the state's income tax on individuals and businesses.
Mark Obenshain, the man who wants to replace Cuccinelli as attorney general, says he will follow in Cuccinelli's footsteps.
"We pushed back against an over-reaching federal government," said Obenshain. "I'm going to continue to do that."
Experts are not certain that this message will resonate with voters in the middle of the political aisle.
"It might come down to those voters," said Geoffrey Skelley, with the University of Virginia Center for Politics. "How do they decide? If they view this ticket as too conservative perhaps they end up voting for the Democrats or they stay home."
The Democrats will chose their nominees in a primary on June 11. Terry McAuliffe is unopposed for governor.