Fifth District GOP candidate Riggleman, Del. Freitas address College Republicans

Riggleman spoke about the campaign, while Freitas decried ‘liberal’ university experiences

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A veteran and business owner, Riggleman is running against Democrat Leslie Cockburn for the congressional seat.

Olivia Rinaldi | Cavalier Daily

Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) — a former U.S. senatorial primary candidate against now Republican nominee Corey Stewart — addressed the College Republicans at their first meeting of the semester last Tuesday night. 

Freitas shared statements about his experience as a conservative at a “liberal” university and opinions about the term “black culture” and the Democratic Party that received varying responses from both the College Republicans and University Democrats. Denver Riggleman, Republican candidate for the Fifth Congressional District of Virginia, also made a guest appearance to speak about his campaign.

Freitas attended Henley-Putnam University in San Jose, Ca. and contented in his remarks Tuesday that arguments are no longer based on “facts, reason and logic” but “what sort of victim status” a person has.

Freitas said this sort of argument is teaching people to believe they are only one aspect of their identity and that most Democrats are to blame for perpetuating such beliefs. 

“A lot of hardcore liberal progressives that I know pretty much have four questions for you: What’s your skin color? What’s your gender? How much money do you make and your sexual orientation?” Freitas said. “If you answer one of those four questions, they will tell you what victim group you belong to. And God help you if you step outside it.”

Freitas went on to address the issues he has with Democrats, referencing his viral speech on the floor of the House of Delegates last March where he stated the Democratic Party supported slavery, fought women’s suffrage and put Japanese-Americans in internment camps. In the same speech he also attributed mass shootings to broken homes created by government policies and “the abortion industry.”

In his address, Freitas then discussed an issue he had with an English professor he had in college who used the term “black culture,” which Freitas said was “myopic.”

“That is to suggest if I were to ask a black person in Los Angeles, a black person in Moscow, a black person in Johannesburg and a black person in Beijing the same question with respect to political philosophy, theology or economic policy, you’re telling me they would all give me the same answer because of their skin color?” Freitas said. 

In an emailed statement to The Cavalier Daily, the University Democrats Executive Board responded to Freitas’ comments about “victim” identities, decrying them as divisive. 

“The claims made by Mr. Freitas are incredibly disturbing and indicative of a Republican party that would rather undercut the lived experiences of marginalized groups than talk about policy solutions that aim to end marginalization,” the statement reads. 

The University Democrats Executive Board also responded to Freitas citing of his fervid speech as “an impressively willful ignorance” of why members of the House found the speech “so odious.” The statement further states how Freitas’ consideration as the “mainstream” candidate in this year’s GOP Senate primary shows “just how extreme the Republican Party of Virginia has become."

The College Republicans sent an email to The Cavalier Daily in response to the statement made by the University Democrats, saying Freitas was standing up to the qualities and generalizations the left places on people. 

“What Delegate Freitas was trying to say — and he articulated it well — was that many folks on the left project generalizations on to people based on certain qualities they cannot control,” the statement reads. “This is problematic for many reasons including the fact that it demeans individuals and downplays their ability to live freely and successfully.” 

College Republicans responded to University Democrats’ statement on the extremism of the Republican Party, writing, “We are considered extreme not because our views have changed, but rather because the Democrats have assiduously moved to the left and have shifted the political spectrum.”

In their remarks, neither Freitas nor Riggleman directly mentioned Stewart nor President Donald Trump — two divisive Republican figures. Freitas has been vocal in the past about Stewart’s close ties to white supremacists and anti-Semitic figures, writing in an email to supporters during the senatorial primary campaign that his pattern of behavior is “especially disqualifying for a candidate seeking higher office.”

A veteran and small business owner, Riggleman is running against Democratic candidate Leslie Cockburn for the congressional seat.

“We’re not running as a Republican or a Democrat. We’re not running as an independent conservative. We’re not running as a Green Party, neo-ideologue or whatever name you want to make up,” Riggleman said about him and Freitas. “We’re running because we think liberty is the one thing people cherish above all else.”

Riggleman spoke to the group about his relationship with Freitas, and how the delegate assisted him in protecting his business, Silverback Distillery, from what he called regulatory overreach when he tried to put the business on his property in Afton. 

“The reason me and Nick Freitas are brothers is because he tried to carry the first legislation to do tax restructuring and to help small businesses for me,” Riggleman said.

Riggleman also noted his priorities for farmers and lower income families in the southern portion of the wide-reaching Fifth Congressional District — “infrastructure, weaponizing regulations and lack of labor.”

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