The incumbent VA-05 Republican congressman Denver Riggleman was defeated in the GOP nomination for his central Virginia seat by Bob Good, an evangelical conservative opponent in a drive-thru convention in Lynchburg on Saturday.
Rep. Denver Riggleman is a first-term congressman in the 5th district, and despite facing major backlash from the republican party for his decision to officiate a same-sex wedding last year, President Trump had endorsed him as a “true conservative leader”. His challenger, Bob Good of Campbell County, Virginia, is a former official at Liberty University and identifies himself as a “bright red, biblical, constitutional conservative”.
Good won with 58% of the primary vote. His campaign was focused on proving Riggleman’s insufficiency as a Republican, referring to his tendency to take a libertarian view on social issues such as immigration and the legalization of maijuana. Many republicans refused to support Riggleman after he decided to officiate a wedding between two of his previous campaign volunteers who were of the same sex. The wedding itself is said to have helped Good’s campaign take off, as he was able to gain strong support from the far-right.
Just over 2,500 of more than 3,500 registered voters participated in the nomination by driving through the parking lot of Tree of Life ministries in Campbell County and dropping off their ballots.This change in the voting process is a response to social distancing regulation amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
With the choice between a nomination convention and a primary, Riggleman was in support of using a primary. This style would have been favorable for him if more voters within the district were able to participate. The 5th district is the largest in VIrginia, and voters residing in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC would have had to travel over two hours to the convention location.
Since Goods nomination, Riggleman’s team has raised accusations of voting irregularities and ballot stuffing in Campbell County. Riggleman’s request to have the convention moved to a more neutral location was denied, despite it being held at a church in Good’s home county. Riggleman has recently taken to Twitter, stating that the voting process was undoubtedly corrupt.
“Voter fraud has been the hallmark of this nomination process and I will not stand for it,” said Riggleman.
According to analysts at the Washington Post, the nomination of Bob Good, a social conservative, has the potential to give the Democratic candidate a better chance of winning the seat in Central Virginia. Republicans have otherwise been secure in the seat for the last decade. In November, Good will face the winner of the democratic primary, which is set to take place on June 23rd.