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’It seems to be a race to the bottom’: Rep. Denver Riggleman criticizes GOP, considers leaving party

Congressman lost party nomination to retain his seat

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Denver Riggleman is no longer hiding his concerns about his own party and the congressman said he may leave the Republican Party if the situation does not change.

In an interview with 10 News on Wednesday, Virginia’s 5th District congressman criticized fellow Virginia GOP members as moving too far to the political right.

“It seems to be a race to the bottom,” Riggleman said. “Even if it’s at the smallest level, you have to condemn racism and corruption as soon as you see it. That’s what I was looking for, and I didn’t see that.”

Riggleman is serving his first term in Congress but lost the Republican Party’s nomination to political newcomer Bob Good. He called the party’s nominating convention, which used delegates instead of individual voters, a “broken process.”

“Look at how ridiculous it was,” Riggleman said. “When you see processes like this, it takes away any confidence people have in the Republican Party.”

Riggleman said he is considering leaving the Republicans to become a third-party politician, but he has not made a decision yet.

“Republicans have always been about a big tent party, centered on individual liberty, and I think we’ve lost our way,” Riggleman said. “If that’s where it goes, I’m in the GOP, that’s great. If it doesn’t go that way, I’m not. It’s that simple.”

He also said he is thinking about potentially running for Governor of Virginia in 2021.

“What if there was a governor who cares about the people of Virginia rather than just a party platform of moving on up?” Riggleman said. “This isn’t moving on up, this is a sacrifice for me.”

While Riggleman decides on his next political move, his seat in Congress will belong to either Good or Democrat Cameron Webb after November’s election. Riggleman did not endorse either candidate but hopes whoever wins unites his constituents.

“We have to have people that run for the right reasons, not just because they’re trying to get famous on Twitter,” Riggleman said. “If they can have a message of hope and a message that is not completely extremist, I think that’s the person that is going to win.”


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