(CNN) — E.W. Jackson, Virginia’s new Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, said he has nothing to apologize for regarding his startling past comments about abortion, race and homosexuality.
“I say the things that I say because I’m a Christian, not because I hate anybody, but because I have religious values that matter to me,” Jackson told reporters Tuesday at a Fredericksburg campaign stop, according to the Washington Post.
“Attacking me because I hold to those principles is attacking every church-going person, every family that’s living a traditional family life, everybody who believes that we all deserve the right to live,” he continued. “So I don’t have anything to rephrase or apologize for. I would just say people should not paint me as one-dimensional.”
An African-American pastor and attorney from Chesapeake, Jackson has compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan and hammered African-Americans for their “slavish devotion” to the Democratic Party.
He has also referred to gays and lesbians as “sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally.”
After Republican activists nominated Jackson at their party’s convention in Richmond last weekend, Democrats began bringing Jackson’s past statements into the limelight, seeking to discredit the conservative ticket, which includes gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli, at the top.
Cuccinelli, the state Attorney General, will likely face Democrat Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, in the November election. Democrats will formally decide their nominee in a June 11 primary.
Poll numbers so far show neither party with a sizable lead in the race, less than six months before Election Day. Because Virginia voters elect the governor and lieutenant governor separately, it’s possible that the winners could be from different parties.
CNN’s Ashley Killough, Paul Steinhauser and Peter Hamby contributed to this report.