Former gubernatorial candidate Denver Riggleman chosen as Republican nominee in Virginia’s 5th District

The candidate was voted on by a 37-person steering committee and will run against former journalist Leslie Cockburn


Denver Riggleman, distillery owner and former gubernatorial candidate, won the nomination for Virginia's 5th Congressional District Saturday afternoon.

Courtesy Denver Riggleman's Twitter account (@Denver4VA)

Denver Riggleman — a former candidate for Virginia Governor and a distillery owner in Nelson County — was selected Saturday afternoon by the Republican committee for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District after four rounds of voting. Riggleman was closely followed by Republican operative and former congressional candidate Cynthia Dunbar.

The convention was held after Rep. Tom Garrett announced last week he would not seek reelection after admitting he was struggling with alcoholism. Six candidates declared their intention to run. A majority was required to earn the nomination. After each round without a winner, the lowest vote-earner was eliminated.

Riggleman ran as a populist in 2017, often discussing regulatory barriers to owning his distillery outside Charlottesville. He dropped out of the race last March, several months before the Republican primary. Before he ran for governor and opened Silverback Distillery, Riggleman served in the United States Air Force as an intelligence officer.

If elected, Riggleman pledged to join the House Freedom Caucus.

Riggleman will run against Democratic nominee Leslie Cockburn in the 2018 general election. The Cockburn campaign did not immediately respond for comment.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball — an electoral forecasting group at the University’s Center for Politics — will maintain the district’s rating as “Likely Republican,” Crystal Ball associate editor Geoffrey Skelley said on Twitter after the convention. If Dunbar had won, it would have been changed to “toss-up.”

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