E.W. Jackson Wins GOP Nomination for Lieutenant Governor in Virginia

E.W. Jackson Wins GOP Nomination for Lieutenant Governor in Virginia

E.W. Jackson won the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia on the fourth ballot in a dramatic primary convention held in Richmond on Saturday. 

Jackson is only the second African-American candidate to receive the Republican Party’s nomination for a statewide office since Reconstruction. A former Marine, graduate of Harvard Law School, and a minister, Jackson is a spellbinding orator with a loyal following among evangelical Christians and Tea Party grassroots activists.

The convention also nominated current Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for Governor by acclamation and gave Mark Obenshain the nod for the Attorney General’s nomination in a razor-thin victory over Rob Bell on the first ballot.

Despite the hotly contested race among the seven candidates campaigning for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor in the weeks leading up to the convention, Jackson finished in first place by a wide margin on every ballot.

After the first round of balloting, State Senators Steve Martin and Jeanmarie Davis were eliminated. Vote totals for the first round were:

EW Jackson 3,732 (31.3%)
Susan Stimpson   1,798 (15.1%)
Corey Stewart   1,769 (14.8%)
PeteSnyder   1,739 (14.6%)
ScottLingamfelter   1,375 (11.5%)
Jeanmarie Davis          861 (7.2%)
Steve Martin                662  (5.5%)

(Total weighted votes cast: 11,936)

After the second round of balloting, Scott Lingamfelter and Susan Stimpson were eliminated. Estimated vote totals were:

E.W. Jackson 4,560 (38.2%)
Pete Snyder   2,029 (17.0%)
Corey Stewart 1,910 (16.0%)
Susan Stimpson    1,874 (15.7%)
Scott Lingamfelter 1,432 (12.0%)

(Total weighted votes cast: 11,936)

After the third round, Corey Stewart was eliminated, but E. W. Jackson’s vote total was so close to 50% plus 1 vote the contest was essentially over. Vote totals were:

Jackson 5,934 (49.7%)
Snyder 3,652 (30.6%)
Stewart 2,350 (19.7%)

(Total weighted votes cast: 11,936)

A fourth round of balloting took place, but the results were never announced. Pete Snyder withdrew from the contest and E. W. Jackson was nominated by acclamation.

More than 8,000 out of a possible 13,000 delegates showed up for the all day event. As candidates were eliminated after the first and second rounds, many of their supporters left the convention hall and did not participate in subsequent ballots. In the fourth and decisive ballot, talk radio host John Fredricks, who provided gavel-to-gavel coverage in an online radio 11 hour marathon broadcast, estimated that only 5,000 delegates remained. 

Due to the weighted voting system used in the convention, which allocated votes  based on the voting population of the geographic area represented by each delegate, some delegate votes counted more than others. In every round, the total number of weighted votes cast was 11, 936. As delegates from a geographic area left the convention, the weighted value of each of the remaining delegates votes from that area increased.

The presumptive Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor, Aneesh Chopra, wasted no time in attacking Jackson, the newly minted Republican nominee. In a press release issued within minutes of the official announcement of Jackson’s victory, Chopra attacked Jackson for his “extremist” views.

Jackson ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for the Senate in 2012. Eventual Republican nominee George Allen was defeated by Tim Kaine for the seat in the November general election. Jackson’s past record of business bankruptcies and tax liens was used unsuccessfully by some of his Republican opponents in the contest for the Lieutenant Governor’s nomination. It is expected that it will be used by the Democrats against him in the general election.

The Democrats will select their nominees for statewide office in a June primary election. Clinton confidante Terry McAuliffe is expected to win the party’s nomination for Governor, and former Obama administration official Chopra is expected to win the nomination for Lieutenant Governor.