“Pulling oneself up by your bootstraps” is de rigeur for black conservatives. Apparently growing up in a normal black family just doesn’t impress the white conservative folks. It is part and parcel of the black conservative victim rap…
“Action Jackson”, the Republican Party’s newest back conservative “standard” didn’t feel his growing up was quite tragic enough…
So he invented privation.
E.W. Jackson, the Chesapeake preacher known for controversial rhetoric, is facing new challenges as his campaign for lieutenant governor of Virginia enters its final weeks.
According to interviews and campaign finance reports, Jackson’s campaign has struggled with basic management issues, including financial accounting. And more recently, vivid details of his escape from deprivation in a Chester, Pa., foster home — the emotional core of his stump speech — have been challenged by two women who were there.
A campaign spokesman said Thursday that everything Jackson says on the trail about his upbringing is true.
Jackson says life was so tough with his impoverished foster family that they sometimes had to eat mayonnaise sandwiches for dinner. Other nights, there was no supper at all.
There was also no indoor bathroom, Jackson said, and as the youngest of the foster children, “I brought the pot down.” He was last in line for the once-a-week bath in a galvanized tub.
“I’m like, ‘What house was he in?’ ” said Nadine Molet, the adopted daughter of foster parents Willie and Rebecca Molet.
Nadine Molet shared the same roof with Jackson and said the bathroom was on the first floor, beyond the well-stocked kitchen. “I never remember missing a meal. We always had fatback, cornbread, pancakes. We always took a lot of food to church.”
Leola Brown, who lived in the unit next door and would come over to babysit Molet and Jackson, said, “They didn’t want for anything.” She remembers the banana pudding and fruited Jell-O she’d find there, and the bathroom, just as in her unit, was past the kitchen and “off to the right.”
Jackson declined requests for interviews. His campaign spokesman, Brian Marriott, said: “Nothing he’s saying about his childhood is untrue. Those were the conditions he experienced.”
After leading a struggling gospel-radio venture and facing bankruptcy in Massachusetts, then moving to Virginia and pursuing his vision of building a worldwide church, Jackson has spent much of the past three years trying his hand at a new career as a political candidate.
Jackson has faced repeated eruptions over his past and present rhetoric, including comments on gays and non-Christians. Democratic opponent Ralph Northam, a child neurologist and state senator from Norfolk, assailed Jackson for those comments and others, including Jackson’s contention that gay people’s “minds are perverted.”
According to interviews and records, Jackson has blurred the lines between his political and religious lives. Starting with his long-shot bid for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2011 and 2012, his political efforts have faced financial questions.
In his run for lieutenant governor and his Senate bid, members of his tiny Chesapeake church were hired for campaign work.
Chris D’Ambra, a former campaign aide, said fundraising and money problems were constant.
“The problem was, he just wasn’t 100 percent committed to all the intricate details to actually get to that next step — to actually being in public office,” D’Ambra said.
D’Ambra had been brought on as campaign manager just out of college, following his previous job as a Papa John’s pizza delivery driver. Jackson’s campaign still owes him back pay, but he’s now entering Navy officer school and said he harbors no ill will.
Jackson was a hardworking boss and compelling speaker. “He was pretty calculated in every word he spoke, and he wanted us to be the same,” D’Ambra said.
Delmon Quesinberry, the former chairman of the Chesapeake Republican Party Committee and the man who brought Jackson into the local GOP, served as Jackson’s campaign treasurer in that race. As the bills stacked up, Quesinberry’s decades of accounting experience kicked in. But Jackson had other ideas.
“I have a certain way of doing this. If you had four bills that need to be paid, I would pay the oldest one. . . . We had a difference of opinion in that area,” Quesinberry said. “He felt like it was his campaign, and he would have the right to say who would get paid.”
Quesinberry would not say whom Jackson insisted on compensating. But he resigned, leaving the job of treasurer to Jackson’s wife. A Jackson spokesman declined to comment.
The Federal Election Commission has queried Theodora Jackson about the decision on her watch to essentially erase $25,000 from the campaign books. The campaign said it had mistakenly provided too high a figure for earlier donations. But the FEC has asked for more information.
In the lieutenant governor campaign, Theodora Jackson signed off on $13,000 in American Express bills listed as expenditures without detailing the actual spending as required by law. The campaign blamed her inexperience and last month promised corrections. But state officials said they have not received them.
Some of Jackson’s supporters have bristled at the attention. On a recent Sunday, nearly two dozen parishioners joined Jackson in the Springhill Suites meeting room where his church, the Exodus Faith Ministries, holds services. Congregant and campaign consultant JoAnn Barnes would not let a reporter attend….