GOP congressmen draw wrath over failure to endorse African-American

Exercising “passive distancing,” two Virginia GOP congressmen are not endorsing their party’s lieutenant governor candidate, E.W. Jackson.

Reps. Scott Rigell and Randy Forbes have drawn the wrath of the Virginia Tea Party Alliance PAC, which declared, “We believe it is no longer permissible for our leaders to stand on the sidelines as our country is stolen from us by Obama and his liberal friends. It is time to do away with tepid policies and take a real stand for the citizens of Virginia.”

The statewide PAC based in McLean has launched a series of robo-calls to fire up congressmen’s constituents.

“Congressman Rigell’s voting record is in line with E.W. Jackson’s views on social issues. So why the double-standard?”asks a female voice on one call, before urging recipients to contact Rigell’s office and voice their displeasure.

Rigell, who represents the Hampton Roads region, and Forbes, from Virginia’s Southside, have not commented publicly about the tea-party campaign.

A Forbes staffer said the congressman does not endorse in races below governor. In fact, he endorsed state Del. John Cosgrove in a state Senate primary last May.

“It is our understanding that Congressman Forbes has his eye on the chairman’s seat of the House Armed Services Committee. Virginia and the nation need someone to fill that seat who is as brave as our men serving in the armed forces he would represent,” said Rick Buchanan, spokesman for the tea PAC.

“We need someone who will do what is right for the party he represents, and not stand behind a self-serving policy to protect himself from possible criticism from the left.”

Jackson’s blunt comments about slavery and unstinting opposition to gay marriage have stirred controversy on the left and defensiveness on right. His failure to file timely and complete campaign disclosure forms has unnerved fellow Republicans.

“For many Republicans like Rigell and Forbes, a lot of E.W. Jackson’s views are too far out of the mainstream,” said Quentin Kidd, who chairs the Department of Government at Christopher Newport University.

“But they can’t come out and say that or risk the wrath of the tea party-motivated voters. So, what they’ve tried to do instead is just keep quiet and keep their heads low” — what Kidd calls “passive distancing.”

Kidd called that “a worrying sign for Jackson.”

“As the Republican Party nominee, he will need all of the institutional party support he can get. Jackson has little hopes of winning in the fall if he can’t attract the support of moderate and conservative members of the Republican establishment,” the political science professor told Watchdog.

Published with permission from


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