Lt. Gov. Candidates Campaign on Jobs, Social ValuesPosted: Updated:
Both men who want to be Virginia's next lieutenant governor brought their campaigns to NBC29 Friday. At issue are matters of faith and social values, both past and present.
Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican E.W. Jackson say they are focused on policy issues, jobs, and education. But so far this race has been built on negativity.
"Comments that he's made, they're offensive, they're divisive, and there's no room for them in the commonwealth of Virginia," Northam said of his opponent.
This race carries with it a lot of weight. It will likely decide which party controls the evenly split state senate, which is a big deal with budget negotiations just around the corner in 2014. And with less than four weeks until the election, neither candidate is holding back.
"My opponent is having a conversation with himself about divisive social issues. I'm talking to the people of Virginia," Jackson said.
Jackson is running for state office for the first time. Northam has served in the state Senate since 2008. Both think they know the way forward for the commonwealth.
"We need to make sure that the light is on, that we're open for business, and we need to be all-inclusive," Northam said.
"We just need to get the message out of caring about people, about why conservative ideas work, of getting our economy working," Jackson said.
But from early on, the race has been marred by Jackson's controversial statements, including some condemning homosexuality, and calling non-Christian faiths "false religions."
Jackson says he has been taken out of context, and says his faith is being attacked.
"There has been a vicious attack on my Christianity and on my Christian faith, which I think is an attack on every church-going person across the commonwealth," Jackson said.
Now in the days leading up to the election, both sides say they're focused on swaying undecided voters.
"I haven't been campaigning on my faith; I've been campaigning on jobs, on education…" Jackson said.
"The most important poll is on November the fifth, and that's what we're focused on," Northam said.
Jackson says he's counting on significant grassroots support to carry him on Election Day.
Most polls show Northam leading Jackson, with many voters still undecided. The University of Virginia Center for Politics says Northam should win handily.