December 2013 Church & State | AU Bulletin

Candidates backed by the Religious Right fared poorly in Virginia’s statewide elections Nov. 5.

Virginia voters rejected a slate of extremist candidates, headed by Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican closely aligned with the Religious Right. Cuccinelli, who relentlessly pursued a Religious Right agenda while attorney general of the state, lost the governer’s race to Democrat Terry McAuliffe by less than 3 points.

During his tenure as attorney general, Cuccinelli attempted to convince the courts to revive the state’s defunct sodomy laws and backed legislation that would have banned most abortions in the state. He also sought to limit certain forms of birth control.

The GOP’s lieutenant governor candidate, E.W. Jackson, was also defeated. Jackson, a former staff member for TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, lost to Democrat Ralph Northam by 10 points.

Jackson, a fiery orator who often appears at Religious Right meetings, made several controversial statements during the campaign, including asserting that non-Christians “are engaged in some sort of false religion.” He was also criticized for earlier comments calling gay people “sick” and accusing President Barack Obama of “Muslim sympathies.”

Jackson also appeared at this year’s Values Voter Summit to further bolster support among Religious Right voters. There, he affirmed his belief that America is a “Christian nation.”

Despite last minute stumping by Religious Right stars, including former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and the Duggar family of reality TV fame, Cuccinelli could not overcome McAuliffe’s lead in the polls.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie (R) was easily reelected, capturing 60 percent of the vote. Christie is a proponent of vouchers.