We’ve had some issues in the past, but I’ve always admired and respected your stands.
As I’m sure you’ve heard, Sen. Harry Blevins is retiring, and Del. John Cosgrove is expected to take his seat….leaving a vacancy open in the House. This is a race that you could actually be competitive in, and have a legitimate shot of winning. It’s also a starting point for bigger and better things….such as the U.S. Senate or the lieutenant governor’s position.
I fear you’ve fallen into the trap that a lot of black Republicans/conservatives fall into. People in our party do a great job of talking us up, inviting us to speak, etc. I can’t count the number of times people have said that Washington/Richmond “need someone like you!” After a while, you start to believe that press; start thinking that, although you’ve done nothing to prepare you for that work, you’re ready for it. It’s how I ended up almost running for a position that I wasn’t ready for. I don’t fault the people who compliment; it’s up to us as individuals to check that input against the reality we have.
I’m going to tell you what your advisors probably aren’t going to tell you-and I’m saying this as a friend, as well as a fellow Republican: you’re not going to be the next lieutenant governor. You don’t have the resources to compete, and no matter how strong your message is, if you can’t get it out statewide, you’re swimming upstream.
It would be in your best interest-personally, professionally, and politically-to seriously look into being Cosgrove’s replacement-or, for that matter, Blevins’.
You have the principles, and you’re an excellent communicator. Everyone knows that. But anyone who tells you that you can translate those skills into a high-level elected office, without having established yourself in a previous role-is, to be honest, lying. They’re looking out for their interests, not yours. Not to discount your work as a pastor, or the history and success that faith leaders have had in political activism, but most of them have topped out as just that: activists. You have the potential to be more.
Not to mention the fact that the House Caucus would be strongly interested in keeping that seat. Granted, I don’t know what the bench is like in Cosgrove’s district; if there’s a heir apparent. But I can say with near 100% certainty that you’d have their backing-both philosophical AND financial-if you chose to run; with that backing, plus the base you already have, you would be credible and formidable. A lot of black Republicans in Virginia don’t get the support you’d easily garner in a HOD race.
I can’t tell you what to do, and even if I could, there’s no guarantee you’d listen, or that this message would make it to you. But Delegate Jackson is a lot more possible than Lieutenant Governor Jackson.