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How did YouTube minister and former Democrat E.W. Jackson first get the idea to run for lieutenant governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia?

According to the Washington Post, Jackson credits a conversation he had with Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli while running for the U.S. Senate in 2010. Jackson said that Cuccinelli, who is currently running against Democrat Terry McAuliffe for governor, even stated that “he would be proud to have me as a running mate.”

Cuccinelli’s campaign has a different take on that 2010 meeting.

Campaign spokeswoman Anna Nix said that the GOP gubernatorial nominee casually asked Jackson if he had ever considered running for “anything else – like maybe lieutenant governor.” But she insists that the Cuccinelli never directly asked Jackson to run nor implied that Jackson could one day become his running mate.

Jackson’s extreme views and comments on homosexuality, abortion, and President Obama have stirred up controversy. Jackson has admitted that his religion has shaped his views on particular issues, but also says that as lieutenant governor, he would not discriminate against any Virginians; he would represent all citizens and in no way interfere with their “right to opportunity.”

Still, Jackson’s controversial scandals have caused Cuccinelli to distance his campaign further and further away from Jackson’s. Cuccinelli refused to defend any of Jackson’s comments and stated, “He’s got to defend all of his own statements and he’s going to go about doing that, but we run our own race.”

The one advantage of having Jackson in the race is that he makes Cuccinelli’s own extremely conservative record seem a little more moderate — if that’s possible.

Current Republican lieutenant governor Bill Bolling is refusing to endorse his party’s nominee and considered a third-party run for the office after the right wing of the party changed the primary rules to help far-right candidates like Cuccinelli and Jackson win. On Monday, two prominent Virginia Republicans — Earle Williams and Dwight Schar — both endorsed Cuccinelli’s opponent, former Democratic National Committee chairman McAuliffe.

With both Cuccinelli and McAuliffe receiving negative approval ratings in recent polls, the race to be the next governor of Virginia is expected to be one of the nastiest in the nation, if not recent memory. And the chances that McAuliffe won’t make his opponent answer for Jackson’s extremism are almost zero.

AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Kyle Green

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