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Bizarre GOP Nomination Fight Makes VA-5 Winnable by Dems

Bizarre GOP Nomination Fight Makes VA-5 Winnable by Dems

Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Va., talks with a reporter in his office in Washington. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call via AP)

By Sunday, 14 June 2020 10:41 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The stunning--and barely-anticipated--rejection this weekend of freshman Rep. Denver Riggleman at the hands of fellow Republicans in Virginia’s 5th District has suddenly fueled Democratic hopes of picking up the seat.

No sooner had a districtwide party caucus rejected Riggleman in favor of former Liberty University athletic director Bob Good than Democrats began seriously eyeing a pickup of the Central Virginia district.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has now put the 5th District on its target list. A four-candidate primary will be held June 23rd and local sources say the likely winner will be former Rappahannock County Supervisor John Lesinski. 

A former U.S. Marine and commercial real estate man, Lesinski is cut from the same cloth as the middle-of-the-road Democratic congressmen who represented the 5th District before leftist Democrat Tom Pierello won it in ’08.  Two years later, the 5th went and stayed Republican.

The conservative Riggleman had raised more than $1.6 million to insurgent Good’s $186,000. He also had the endorsements of every “name” Republican from President Donald Trump to Good’s old boss, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr.

Had Republicans held a primary, Riggleman would almost surely have won hands down. But local party leaders agreed on a caucus to choose the nominee and the sole site for drive-by voting was a church in Lynchburg. (The 5th District stretches from the North Carolina border to the Washington, D.C. suburbs).

About 3,000 Republicans drove by the church to cast ballots in its parking lot. On Sunday, District Chairman Melvin Adams announced that Good was the winner by a margin of 58 to 42 percent.

Most press reports said that the libertarian-leaning Riggleman’s much-publicized decision to officiate at the same-sex marriage of two former campaign volunteers was the key to his undoing. 

Beyond this one act, there was little in Riggleman’s record to cause controversy. The freshman congressman voted with President Trump 95 per cent of the time and was a member of the conservative House Republican Freedom Caucus.

But Good also had other “red meat” issues with which to rally supporters. He opposed abortion under any circumstances, backed English as the official U.S. language, and wanted an end to birthright citizenship. Good also had the services of the redoubtable political husband-and-wife team of Chris and Diana Shores, who have a record in mastery of convention politics.

“They’re the new Bonnie and Clyde of Virginia convention politics,” observed Northern Virginia radio talk show host John Fredericks, a top Trump operative in the Old Dominion State.

For his part, Riggleman made clear he is not going gently into the night. Following the announcement that he had lost to Good, the congressman claimed he had received reports of “voting irregularities” and "ballot stuffing.”

“We are evaluating all our options at this time,” he tweeted Saturday.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. Read John Gizzi's Reports — More Here.


                                      

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The stunning--and barely-anticipated--rejection this weekend of freshman Rep. Denver Riggleman at the hands of fellow Republicans in Virginia's 5th District has suddenly fueled Democratic hopes of picking up the seat.
riggleman, trump, good, virginia, democrats, lgbtq
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2020-41-14
Sunday, 14 June 2020 10:41 PM
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