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​Battle for Democratic nomination to face Garrett in 2018 election swells to five candidates

Albemarle County’s Ben Cullop and Rappahannock County’s Leslie Cockburn have entered the race

<p>Cullop (left) and Cockburn (right) have both filed for candidacy with the Federal Election Commission this month.</p>

Cullop (left) and Cockburn (right) have both filed for candidacy with the Federal Election Commission this month.

Two Democrats have joined the nomination race to unseat Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) in the Fifth District Congressional election in 2018. According to the Federal Election Commission, Ben Cullop and Leslie Cockburn filed for candidacy July 2 and 13, respectively.

Cullop and Cockburn face Roger Dean Huffstetler, Andrew Sneathern and Adam Slate, all of Charlottesville, in pursuit of the Democratic nomination for the Fifth District election.

Cullop, of Albemarle County, is an alumnus of the University of Virginia and the Darden School of Business. In a statement on his campaign contributions website, Cullop said he and his family call the Fifth District home.

“I was born in the 5th District,” Cullop said. “My wife and I have gone to school here, made our lives here and are raising our family here. This is our home.”

Cockburn, of Rappahannock County, is a journalist, filmmaker and writer. In a statement on her campaign contributions website, Cockburn said she has tended a farm for nearly 20 years and has fought for land conservation.

“I have fought power lines and pipelines and uranium mining, challenging the outside corporate interests that want to exploit the 5th district and leave the mess behind,” Cockburn said. “Right now corporate lobbyists and their allies in the White House and Capitol Hill are trampling the environmental laws that protect our children’s health, our air and our water.”

On his contributions website, Cullop said he has “new ideas” about health care, LGBTQ rights, the environment and abortion rights.

“We need a strong Democrat who can stand up to Donald Trump,” Cullop said. “We also need someone who will focus relentlessly on bringing new jobs to the District. I am that Democrat.”

On her site, Cockburn discussed issues related to the environment, health care, women’s rights, college affordability and opioid addiction, among others.

“Let’s protect the land we cherish,” Cockburn said. “We need to stop the Trump White House from dismantling the Farm Bill and slashing 29 billion from crop insurance. We need to protect the weakest among us, immigrant families who live in terror of deportation and families scarred by opioid addiction.”

Entrepreneur and Marine veteran Roger Dean Huffstetler announced his candidacy April 20. University alumnus Adam Slate, who works for the Health System, and attorney Andrew Sneathern both announced their bids in late May.

Following a primary — date is pending — one of the five Democrats will face one-term incumbent Tom Garrett for his Congressional seat. Garrett was elected in 2016 after defeating Democrat Jane Dittmar by more than 16 points.

The Fifth District election is Nov. 6, 2018.