Former GOP Congresswoman Denver Riggleman Endorses Abigail Spanberger in Ad

Denver Riggleman, a former Republican congresswoman from Virginia, will fight for Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) in her re-election bid in Virginia’s 7th District, appearing in a new TV ad urging voters to support the MP for her willingness to work across the aisle.

“This isn’t your typical political ad,” Riggleman says in the opening frame. “I’m a Republican congressman who says nice things about a Democrat.”

Indeed, it’s quite unusual for a former Republican congressman to campaign for a sitting Democrat, in Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) supporting Democrats in Arizona against Republican gubernatorial candidates. and secretary of state. But Riggleman is quite unusual in that he was among the vocal minority of Republicans to cut ties with the GOP over former President Donald Trump’s stolen election lies, telling the Washington Post in interviews the year last time he no longer identified as a Republican. Riggleman also railed against what he called the GOP purity tests he said he didn’t fit into.

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“In Congress, the parties are separate and don’t work together — except Abigail Spanberger,” Riggleman says in the ad, pointing to a bipartisan index ranking Spanberger as the fifth most bipartisan member of Congress. “She’s trying to change Congress and make it work.”

The announcement – more than half a million dollars in purchases in Washington and Charlottesville markets, according to Spanberger’s campaignappears geared toward independent or swing voters in the district as Spanberger hits the final leg of the race against Prince William Board of County Supervisors member Yesli Vega (R). The race is by far the most expensive campaign in Virginia, totaling more than $18 million so far. The district, rooted in the populous east of Prince William, is a President Biden and Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) each won, making it one of Virginia’s most hotly contested races this year. The ad will run for most of October, according to the campaign.

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In an interview, Riggleman said he decided to cut advertising for Spanberger because he couldn’t support “fact-challenged individuals” running for office.

He pointed to Vega’s comments during the Republican primary this spring casting doubt on the 2020 election, and his acceptance of an endorsert of Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a GOP activist and the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who remains under the scrutiny of the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol for her efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Riggleman, who has a background in tracking misinformation, worked as an adviser to the January 6 committee – although he recently criticized committee members after publishing a book about his work before the end of the committee’s investigation and which the committee has not authorized.

“If you’re afraid to say President Biden was elected legally and fairly, I can’t support that kind of ridiculousness in any way,” he said.

Riggleman was referring to comments Vega made at a candidate forum on April 20 in which she said “there is evidence continuing to come out that indicates the 2020 election was obstructed,” according to a recording obtained by VPM. She said she would not say the election had been “stolen”, adding that she did not want to speculate and needed more proof. Still, Riggleman argued that saying the election was “hampered” is “code language for everyone on the stop-the-steal bus.”

A Vega spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment for this article. But during a recent interview with The Post, when asked if she agreed that President Biden was legitimately elected, Vega said, “He’s the President of the United States.” She wouldn’t answer yes or no when pressed, disputing the question as something she felt didn’t matter to voters in her constituency, noting that Jan. 6 was a long time ago. . She then reiterated that Biden was president and added that “the American people elected him.”

‘I’m not Donald Trump, I don’t know what’s going on in his mind and I can’t speak to what he said,’ she said when asked about the false allegations of Trump voter fraud. “You can call him and ask him about those comments, but I’m not going there because he has nothing to do with this race, and I haven’t spoken to voters yet. worry.”

Despite his caucuses with more conservative members of Congress in the House Freedom Caucus, the libertarian-leaning Riggleman has frequently worked across the aisle with Spanberger on issues such as expanding midstream broadband. rural. The two maintained a friendly relationship, bonding over a shared experience in the fight against terrorism.

They served in Congress as Republicans from Virginia. Now they have joined a national effort to reform the party.

Riggleman was defeated by Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) at a controversial 2020 GOP nominating convention after he upset right-wing religious conservative activists for performing a same-sex marriage. He went on to become one of Trump’s top critics in the GOP, angering party officials after he criticized the former president for flirting with QAnon conspiracy theories weeks before the 2020 election, then ringing the bell alarm bells ringing about false claims of voter fraud that Trump and his GOP colleagues were spreading.

“I think tribal politics is the worst thing we can have,” he said on Friday. “I think that’s another reason for Abby [Spanberger]it’s that she’s bipartisan — she definitely wants to help people in her district, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, and that’s a special trait to have.

Riggleman’s successor, Good, who also incorrectly claimed the election was stolen, endorsed Vega. In June he said she would “put America first” and called her “a true fighter who I want to serve alongside me in Congress, fighting against the establishment and for our true conservative principles.” Several members of the House Freedom Caucus have endorsed Vega, and her political arm says she will join the caucus if elected.

Spanberger said in a statement that she was “proud to be ranked as the most bipartisan congresswoman from Virginia — because the people I represent expect me to get results, not a platform.” .

“This commitment to progress stands in direct contrast to my opponent – ​​who has pledged to join the hyper-partisan Freedom Caucus, pledged to shut down the federal government and defended insurgents who have attacked the US Capitol and US forces. order on January 6, 2021,” Spanberger said.

Vega had expressed openness to the government shutdown in an interview with Conservative radio host John Fredericks, but when asked by The Post about the circumstances under which she would consider a shutdown, she said she would not speculate.