Pedro Celis’ campaign has come under fire for plagiarizing policy positions from E.W. Jackson, a failed fringe figure who lost Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor race in 2013. When Celis was confronted about his copycat behavior, he doubled down on Jackson’s right-wing positions. Celis’ double-down begs the question: what else do he and Jackson agree on?
Does Pedro share Jackson’s beliefs that:
- Gays are “frankly very sick?”
- Practicing yoga leads to Satan?
- Planned Parenthood is worse than the Ku Klux Klan?
- Anyone who backs a pro-choice candidate is “blaspheming their God?”
- Abortion will increase like a “plague upon the land” due to health care reform?
- More guns are needed in schools?
- Birth defects are caused by sin?
“Co-opting fringe figure E.W. Jackson’s policy positions demonstrates how closely aligned Pedro Celis is with a far-right agenda that is making Congress so dysfunctional,” said Tyrone Gayle of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “With so many destructive and offensive beliefs, Washington State voters deserve to know what else Pedro Celis and E.W. Jackson agree on.”
Celis’ Campaign Admitted to Co-Opting and Finding Commonality in E.W. Jackson’s Policy Positions. In September 2014, when confronted with allegations that Celis’ campaign plagiarized policy positions from E.W. Jackson—a Republican candidate from last year’s lieutenant governor race in Virginia—Gray Delany, Celis’ new communications director, acknowledged that he originally wrote the positions for other candidates, including Jackson. Delany: “Thank you Jim for pointing this out. The two quotes above are positions I wrote and were part of the issue positions released today. They are core Republican principles. Our $17 trillion dollar debt is not a problem unique to Virginia.” [Seattle Times, 9/5/14]
Lt. Governor Candidate E.W. Jackson Called Gays “Frankly Very Sick.” “Jackson has said that gays are ‘frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally’; and there is ‘a direction connection’ between homosexuality and pedophilia; that the gay rights movement ‘attempts to poison our children, divide them from their parents and the teaching of the church and basically turn them into paws for that movement so they can sexualize them at the earliest possible age.’” [Bloomberg, 5/20/13; Right Wing Watch, 10/25/12]
Headline: Virginia candidate E.W. Jackson: Yoga leads to Satan [POLITICO, 9/08/14]
Lt. Governor Nominee E.W. Jackson Compared Planned Parenthood to the KKK. In 2013, CNN reported that Jackson said in an online video, “The Democrat Party has created an unholy alliance between certain so-called civil rights leaders and Planned Parenthood, which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions. Planned Parenthood has been for more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was…And the Democrat Party and the black civil rights allies are partners in this genocide.” [CNN, 5/19/13]
Suggested that Those who Back Pro-Choice Candidates are “Blaspheming their God.” “Now black churchgoers are being told to suppress Christian conscience and remain beholden to a party that demands their loyalty while insulting their faith and blaspheming their God.” [E.W. Jackson op-ed, The Washington Times, 10/01/12]
Stated that Abortion would “Increase like a Plague upon the Land” as a Result of Healthcare Reform. In July 2009, E.W. Jackson issued a press release to announce the launch of Staying True to America’s Destiny (STAND), which criticized healthcare reform, warning that it would result an increase in abortions “like a plague upon the land.” “STAND is also opposing Obama’s healthcare reform, which it calls ‘a veiled government takeover of healthcare.’ Bishop Jackson argues, ‘If the government takes over healthcare, everything will be rationed except abortion. The conscience objection will be eliminated, and abortion will increase like a plague upon the land.’ STAND wants to end abortion in America.” [STAND press release, 7/14/09]
Headline: Va. Republican Lt. Governor Candidate Said Birth Defects Were Caused By Sin [Buzzfeed, 6/07/13]