5th district Republican contemplates vote for Biden; says he no fan of autocratic presidents
It’s not every presidential election cycle that a sitting U.S. congressman goes on national television to say that they “would consider” voting for the opposing party’s White House candidate.
Then again, the days are numbered for Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman, who lost his party’s nomination this unprecedented summer in Virginia’s 5th congressional district, which includes Rappahannock County.
On the heels of Riggleman blasting President Trump's refusal to condemn the far-right Satanic conspiracy theory QAnon, CNN’s Ana Cabrera recently asked the Republican lawmaker who he was supporting in November?
“You know, I want to vote for President Trump,” the congressman replied, “but if he doesn't come out and repudiate this type of [QAnon] insanity, it's hard … to vote down that line. You have to vote for what's right and I'm going to look for integrity first and that's what I'm going to be voting that day. And if people don't like it, again, I really don't care.”
Pressed further if that meant he could wind up voting for Democrat Joe Biden, regardless of being endorsed by Trump for reelection in November, Riggleman said: “I would consider it. I'm a free thinking American. I'm going to consider voting for everybody regardless of party because I think you've got to put people over party at some point ...
“And the fact that I haven't been in politics long and I've had one of the most bizarre two years of my life, it gives me the freedom to say what needs to be said.”
Last June, the one-term congressman’s GOP’s challenger, Bob Good, captured an impressive 58 percent of the vote in a COVID-19 altered drive-thru Republican “convention” in Lynchburg. Good ever since has been fighting tooth and nail against Dr. Cameron Webb, his Democratic opponent.
Good from the beginning gained widespread backing in Rappahannock County, where local Republicans were among the district’s first to turn against Riggleman. Terry Dixon, president of the Rappahannock Republican Committee, said 57 of the 62 county delegates showed up to vote in Lynchburg, which amounts to over 90 percent turnout. All told, of the district’s 3,500 registered delegates, more than 2,500 cast ballots at the convention.
“I get, you know, [being] endorsed by the president at the same time I'm getting my teeth knocked in,” Riggleman recalled for CNN, an interview that Good supporter Ron Maxwell of Flint Hill equated to “throwing him [Trump] under the bus just days before the election.”
“I think you know my history a little bit why I'm going out the door,” Riggleman continued, drawing attention to “officiating a same-sex wedding, being for pre-existing conditions, you know, voting to open the government, you know, all of thus stuff is what I got hit on.
“And, you know, as I sort of got railroaded out,” Riggleman said, “and I think that's the issue. I think we have people that are afraid to say what's needed. Listen, I don't work for the president. I work for the people of the district, the 750,000 people, and I am not a big fan of autocracy.”