December 12, 2017 at 10:01 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
E.W. Jackson to run for U.S. Senate

E.W. Jackson, Republican Party, Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade

E.W. Jackson on Dec. 11, 2017, announced he is running for the U.S. Senate. (Photo public domain)

A minister who has compared gay men to pedophiles on Monday announced he is running for U.S. Senate in 2018.

E.W. Jackson — founder of Exodus Faith Ministries in Chesapeake — is running against Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart and state Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) in the Republican primary. The winner will face off against U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) in the general election.

The Washington Post on Monday reported Jackson criticized Stewart, who once chaired President Trump’s campaign in Virginia and narrowly lost to former Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie in June’s GOP gubernatorial primary, over Sharia law and other issues. Jackson on his Twitter page described Gillespie as a “fellow Republican and friend” and said he would support him if he wins the nomination.

“If they choose me I expect he will do the same,” wrote Jackson. “I just believe that I am the candidate with the message and background to beat Timmy Kaine.”

Jackson in 2013 unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor.

LGBT rights advocates and their supporters repeatedly criticized Jackson during the campaign, noting that he once compared gay men to pedophiles and said they are “very sick people.” He has also said he disagrees with Pope Francis’ previous suggestion that the Roman Catholic Church has grown “obsessed” with marriage rights for same-sex couples and other social issues that include abortion.

“I’m a person who respects every individual,” Jackson told then-News Channel 8 talk show host Bruce DePuyt during a live interview that aired less than a week before losing to now Gov.-elect Ralph Northam.

LGBT advocates in Virginia with whom the Washington Blade spoke on Monday once again criticized Jackson.

“As the last four statewide elections have shown, LGBT equality wins in Virginia,” said Equality Virginia Advocates Executive Director James Parrish in a statement. “Voters in the Commonwealth have demonstrated time and time again that if you’re running to represent them, you must value all of its citizens. Through his past discriminatory statements and actions, E. W. Jackson has proven that he would not make LGBT Virginians a priority.”

Catherine Read, a member of the Equality Virginia PAC’s board of directors who lives in Fairfax, openly mocked the state’s Republican Party.

“Crazy and Crazier are just waiting for Craziest to announce,” she told the Blade. “The GOP must be so proud to have Corey Stewart and E.W. Jackson as the face of their party.”

“Perhaps (former state Attorney General Ken) Cuccinelli will decide to jump in,” added Read.

Democratic Party of Virginia Chair Susan Swecker in a statement also criticized Jackson, Stewart and Freitas.

“Jackson is notorious for his offensive, disgusting views,” said Swecker. “He wants to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides vital health care services to underserved populations, and called it ‘far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was.’ He questioned President Obama’s faith, called him ‘evil’ and ‘the Antichrist, compared Obamacare to slavery, and called LGBTQ people ‘perverted’ and ‘very sick.'”

“Simply put, we can’t trust someone with this twisted worldview to fight for all Virginians in the Senate,” she added.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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