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Rep. Denver Riggleman beat out by Bob Good in GOP primary convention

First elected in 2018, Riggleman has voted in line with Trump 94.5 percent of the time

Riggleman’s positions on marriage equality and immigration have drawn ire from local conservative leaders.
Riggleman’s positions on marriage equality and immigration have drawn ire from local conservative leaders.

First-term congressman Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Va., lost his bid for renomination Saturday in a drive-thru district convention held in the parking lot of a Lynchburg church. 

Riggleman, who was running for a second term in the Fifth District, was beat out by Bob Good — a former Campbell County supervisor and Liberty University fundraiser — who won 58 percent of the 2,437 delegates who voted Saturday. 

The Fifth District spans from Northern Virginia to the North Carolina border, and includes Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The district is reliably conservative, having a Republican congressman since 2010 and choosing President Trump by double digits over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Since his election in 2018, Riggleman has voted in line with Trump 94.5 percent of the time. Trump endorsed Riggleman via Twitter in December. 

Riggleman’s positions on marriage equality and immigration have drawn ire from local conservative leaders, particularly after he officiated the wedding of two of his former male campaign volunteers last summer. 

Good, who describes himself as a “biblical conservative,” has campaigned against marriage equality, birthright citizenship and has supported making English the official language of the United States. In an interview with The Hill in September, he described Riggleman as out-of-touch with Christian constituents, stating that Riggleman has “betrayed the trust of the conservative Republican base that comprises the bulk of the 5th District.”

In a Facebook live-stream, Good said he plans to turn Virginia's Fifth District "bright red" in November with his "true conservative principles."

Professor Larry Sabato, director of the University's Center for Politics, said in a tweet that "The Virginia GOP has now gone so far right that a congressman backed by Donald Trump and Jerry Falwell, Jr. isn’t considered conservative enough to re-nominate. Riggleman was a down-the-line U.S. House vote for Trump’s agenda."

Good, who missed the June 9 filing deadline for his candidacy, will face off against the district’s Democratic nominee in November. The four candidates currently vying for the Democratic primary seat are R.D. Huffstetler, John Lesinski, Claire Russo and Dr. Cameron Webb. The Democratic nominee is set to be chosen via a primary June 23, and the State Board of Elections will meet July 7 to determine whether Good may receive a filing extension for missing the deadline.

The convention — which was delayed from its initial spring date due to the COVID-19 pandemic — drew criticism from Riggleman, who in a midnight tweet said that “voting irregularities” and “ballot stuffing” had been reported in multiple counties in the fifth district. As of Sunday morning, Riggleman had not conceded the race and is evaluating his options, including possible legal action.

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