Press Club

Peter’s Take: Virginia GOP Ticket Will Turn Off Arlington GOP

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Peter RousselotLast Saturday, the Republican Party of Virginia (RPVA) nominated a statewide ticket that will be a real turn-off for a large segment of Republicans in Arlington.

Ken Cuccinelli for Governor

As I have previously written, Ken Cuccinelli has an extreme anti-women agenda, including support for a “personhood” law that would end or cripple a series of personal rights that women in Arlington and the rest of Virginia have enjoyed for decades, such as:

  • Birth control
  • Fertility treatment
  • Management of a miscarriage
  • Access to safe and legal abortions

Cuccinelli holds many other extreme positions that are unappealing to large numbers of Arlington Republicans, including his attacks on academic freedom and his war on science. Rather than balancing Cuccinelli with two other more moderate candidates, the RPVA instead chose two candidates with even more extreme views.

E.W. Jackson for Lieutenant Governor

This is Mr. Jackson’s message for the gay and lesbian community: “Gays and lesbians have ‘perverted’ minds and are ‘very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally,’ … [they] seek societal approval because ‘they’ll never feel satisfied because in their heart of hearts’ they know ‘it is immoral, it is perverse, it is degenerate.’”

Mr. Jackson believes that gay marriage is like “spitting in the face of every bible-believing Christian in America.” Mr. Jackson thinks that Planned Parenthood has been “far more lethal to Black lives than the KKK ever was.”

RPVA is sponsoring Mr. Jackson as someone who deserves to be a heartbeat away from the Virginia governorship.

Mark Obenshain for Attorney General

Just like Cuccinelli, Mark Obenshain has repeatedly supported “personhood” legislation that would outlaw many common forms of birth control. [HB2797, 2007; HB1,2/23/12]. In addition, Obenshain voted against adding sexual orientation to Virginia’s non-discrimination policy. [SB66, 3/9/10] Finally, Obenshain revealed the lengths to which he would go by introducing a bill that would require a woman to report any miscarriage to police within 24 hours.

These are not the positions of reverence for individual liberty which many Arlington Republicans say they support.

The last Republican candidate to get elected in Arlington was David Foster — re-elected to the Arlington School Board in 2003. Two years after his School Board term expired, Foster challenged Ken Cuccinelli for the Republican nomination for Attorney General.

At the 2009 GOP Convention, the delegates overwhelmingly chose Cuccinelli because Foster was too moderate for their tastes. But, they also chose Bill Bolling as their Lieutenant Governor candidate — and by their standards, Bolling was considered a moderate.

By nominating its 2013 ticket, the RPVA has demonstrated that the state Republican Party has moved significantly farther to the right than it was four years ago. Precisely for that reason, the 2013 Republican ticket will appeal to a much smaller segment of the Arlington Republican electorate than the 2009 Republican ticket did.

Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

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