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Candidates Announce for Congress in VA-05

While you were sleeping, 5th Congressional District candidates were lining up overnight for the seat that will be vacated by incumbent Congressman Tom Garrett [1] in November, as announced Monday by Garrett.

The first to officially announce is Nelson County businessman Denver Riggleman who briefly ran for Virginia governor in 2017 [2] but has held no public office during his brief foray into politics. Riggleman, who owns Silverback Distillery on the Rt. 151 corridor, made his announcement late Monday night on Facebook [3]:

I am officially announcing my candidacy for the Republican nomination for the 5th Congressional District. As a political outsider, veteran, small business owner, and grassroots conservative, I will bring a fresh perspective to DC and help pass the President’s agenda. As we have all seen over the past few years, it takes a real outsider with real world experience to drag the swamp monsters to dry land. As a veteran and small business owner, I am perfectly suited for that task.

I would like to thank Rep. Tom Garrett for his many years of public service as a Congressman, State Senator, and Commonwealth’s Attorney. He and I have become close friends ever since I first signed up to be a delegate for him at the 2016 5th District Convention. Christine and I are sending prayers and best wishes to Tom and his family during this difficult time. Tom is a man of courage and a conviction, I look forward to continuing his pristine conservative voting record in DC.

Bearing Drift’s Rick SincereĀ has Riggleman’s remarks [4] during his gubernatorial run.

First governor, now congress. There is something to be said for learning about governing before jumping into the deep end of the pool. To quote a commenter during Riggleman’s governor campaign, “Is there not a local office where he could get his feet wet first on how all this works and then give him some time to travel Virginia for several years learning about each locality and meeting people with his message?”

Regardless, we now have the first official candidate for the 5th District congressional seat. Watch for the floodgates to open with many more in the upcoming days.

The 5th Congressional District [5] is the largest in the Commonwealth and runs from Washington’s western suburbs to Virginia’s border with North Carolina, taking in Charlottesville, Danville, Rocky Mount, South Boston, and South Hill.

It also includes all of the counties of Albemarle, Appomattox, Brunswick, Buckingham, Campbell, Charlotte, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Franklin, Greene, Halifax, Lunenburg, Madison, Mecklenburg, Nelson, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward, and Rappahannock, as well as portions of Bedford, Fauquier, and Henry counties.

UPDATE x2: Martha Boneta [6] announced on Jeff Fredericks’ radio show Tuesday morning that she, too, will seek the 5th District congressional seat. Word is she has a close working relationship with Riggleman so speculation is that she may eventually drop out and throw her support behind his candidacy.

Known on Facebook as Paris Barns, Boneta is an attorney and a farmer at Liberty Farm in Paris, Virginia, whose name became familiar when legislation strengthening farmer’s rights was carried by then-Delegate Scott Lingamfelter and passed in the Virginia General Assembly in 2014.

UPDATE x3: Developer Jim McKelvey has announced on Facebook: “Getting ready to go at it again! I am officially announcing my candidacy for the 5th District Congressional Seat.”

UPDATE x4 — METHOD OF NOMINATION: Because it’s so late in the game, this will not be a convention or primary situation. The 5th Congressional District Committee will actually be the ones to choose a candidate to face the Democrat in November.

UPDATE x5: State Senator Bill Stanley [7] has commented on his possible interest in the congressional seat:

Stanley, 50, has represented the 20th senate district 2011.

UPDATE x6: Bearing Drift’s Rollin Reisinger comments on Facebook about Delegate Michael Webert: “Delegate Michael Webert is a strong contender for the Fifth District nomination. As a legislator with a solid record, Webert won’t face many on the committee who fiercely oppose his candidacy. That becomes especially important if other leading candidates are opposed by more than half. He will need to address geographic concerns that he lives far too close to the northern tip of the district and could be redistricted out in a few years. Boneta’s farm lies in the same area in Fauquier and will raise similar concerns.”

UPDATE x7: Delegate Rob Bell told political reporter Graham Moomaw with the Richmond Times-Dispatch [8] that he will not seek the congressional seat.

UPDATE x8: Joe Whited, who was a candidate for the position in 2016, has officially entered the race. Here is his statement:

Just over two years ago I sent you all a message thanking you for your support in my race for the Republican nomination in the 5th District of Virginia. In closing that note I quoted President Reagan who said “there are really no last campaigns each generation must renew and win again for itself the precious gift of liberty, the sacred heritage of freedom” and I assured you that it was not our last campaign. I promised that we would continue fighting to make our country safer, grow our economy, save our rural communities, and make sure that we continue to have a government for and by the people.

While the circumstances are truly unfortunate, the time for that next campaign in upon us. My heart goes out to Tom, Flanna, and the rest of the Garrett family in this very difficult time. I have seen firsthand the impact of alcoholism and addiction in my own family and I know the road ahead will not be easy. I also know that Tom is a fighter, something we all saw from him every day he was in Richmond and in Washington, and he will beat this and come back stronger for the experience. I thank Tom and his family for their service to our country and to our Commonwealth and wish them all the best of luck.

I have been incredibly touched and deeply humbled by the outpouring of encouragement and support from friends across the district over the last 24 hours. And it is with a deep awareness of the trust you are placing in me by asking me seek office that I am proud to announce today that I am running for the Republican nomination for Congress in the 5th District of Virginia. I look forward to the nominating process ahead and to the general election campaign beyond.

We will show that there is only one candidate in this race with the breadth of experience and deep understanding of the issues, from national security to the challenges faced by our small businesses and farmers here in the Commonwealth, to not only represent the 5th District but be able to hit the ground running in Congress.

Have no doubt, we are at risk of losing this seat to the Democrats in November and we must nominate someone who has the ideas, the energy, and the resources to go the distance this Fall. In short, I am that candidate and I will be ready on day one to work for you my friends and the neighbors here in the 5th.

I look forward to visiting with you all in person very soon. In the meantime, please follow us on Facebook @WhitedforVirginina and on Twitter @Whited_JJ. As always feel free to reach to me directly anytime at [email protected]

UPDATE x9: From the 5th Congressional District chairman — “Further Information on our Congressional Candidate Selection Process: The CD5 Committee is ONLY gathering information to help us fully understand our constraints. We are discussing what a responsible process and timeline would be. There have NOT been, not will there ever be, any secret discussions by the CD5 of any candidate(s) or prospects. As soon as we determine a reasonable timetable and process, that information will be shared. Every candidate will be have a full hearing by the Committee. Melvin Adams, Chairman”