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Lieutenant Governor Candidate Steals Spotlight In Virginia Politics

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In Virginia, voters are starting to learn more about the controversial Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.

A native of Pennsylvania, Earl Walker Jackson Senior is a Harvard Law School graduate who has been making a name for himself in conservative circles for years. Back in 2010, he gained nation media attention for accusing the New Black Panther Party of voter intimidation. And in the last presidential election, he made a video asking black voters to abandon the Democratic Party.

"Anyone who dares equates the so-called gay rights movement to the history of black Americans is exploiting the black community. They say opposition to same-sex marriage is the same as opposition to interracial marriage. That is an insult to human intelligence. It is a lie," he said on the video.

Although the Republican ticket has been trying to focus attention on jobs and the economy, Democrats are eager to call attention to Jackson's statements about social issues.

"He is frightening rather than providing a legitimate and appropriate policy differential," says State Senator Adam Ebbin.

Unlike many other states, the lieutenant governor position in Virginia is elected separately, so it's possible for voters to split the ticket. The position wields a significant amount of power for the office; the lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate—and determines the balance of power in a body split between 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans.

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