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Keep Up the Good Work, Congressman Riggleman. You Are Appreciated.

[Author’s note: I do not know any of these individuals. My disgust over the situation would be the same under the same circumstances anywhere.The following is NOT part of the series on the RPV.]

You know how lawyers, like Joe Morrisey for example, tend to give lawyers in general a bad name? Well, within the past few weeks, I have come to understand why the same is said for Political Consultants (and that sucks because I know a lot of honest, hardworking consultants … and lawyers). It is no wonder folks in Virginia have such disdain for consultants when they turn out to be the textbook example of soap opera nasty.

More importantly, when individuals serve as consultants to Republican campaigns ( paid or volunteer) while also serving in positions of leadership within the party, they should be held to a higher standard of ethical conduct, or at minimum, a basic standard of honesty and fair dealing. When anyone is permitted to serve in this type of dual role and exhibits the worst possible political nature, it damages the party in the eyes of the very people who they need to win elections in Virginia.

Case in point: The Shores, Chris and Diana, and their disingenuous smear campaign on one of the few really decent, honest Congressmen in Washington: 5th District Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA).

As reported [1] back in 2018:

Shortly before he became the nominee, Riggleman sat down with Chris Shores, a prominent conservative Christian activist who opposes abortion in all cases and same-sex marriage. Riggleman says that the government ought to stay out of marriage but that if it grants licenses for some, it cannot discriminate….

“He goes, ‘Tell me your beliefs,’ ” Riggleman recalled. “I said, ‘Here they are: Boom, boom, boom.’ He goes, ‘Um, I don’t agree with you on all of them, but most of the stuff we do agree on. . . . But you’re a good man and you’re honest.’ And I tell you what. That right there is, I think, the most important – I think it’s the highest compliment you can get.”

Shores confirmed that account and said he appreciated that Riggleman did not simply tell him what he wanted to hear.

After their meeting, Shores still wanted the nomination to go to someone else: Cynthia Dunbar, a former Texas school board member who has called the separation of church and state a “fallacious principle.” But once Riggleman got the nod, Shores hosted a breakfast to introduce him to Republicans from Cumberland, Buckingham and Prince Edward counties.

“Denver has my 100 percent support,” Shores said. “I think he has a great personal story to tell. He came from a very poor family, made his way in life, pulled himself up by the bootstraps, wasn’t seeking to get involved in politics – but politics got involved with him.” [emphasis added]

So before Riggleman won the nominationMr. Shores was fully aware of his positions on same sex marriage … and supported him “100 percent”.  Back then, the Shores understood 80 percent agreement was a good thing.

Just as it should be under the principles the Republican Party of Virginia expects from its leadership, right?

Apparently that is a principle that must be applicable to everyone, unless your name is Shores.

As the article above mentioned, both Shores, Mr. and Mrs., originally supported Cynthia Dunbar. That is wonderful, and well within their rights.

What that story doesn’t mention is that they were much more involved with Dunbar than merely supporting her. They were acting in more of a consultant capacity running this 5th Congressional District campaign, in ADDITION to running Dunbar’s unsuccessful campaign for the 6thCongressional District just a mere two weeks before. That must have been exhausting. Anyway…

That debacle has been well covered [2], so I will just point you to some additional coverage from Bearing Drift. It is for these reasons, when combined with the current problem, that motivated me to this post.

This first story [3] is from the first run for congress in the 6th district which is also, I believe, where Dunbar resides. Please do whatever additional reading you choose, but this post is revealing inasmuch as it is clear who had what role and where.

Amazingly, just two weeks after the 6th District loss, the campaign had the energy and gusto to stay the course … of winning a congressional seat for Cynthia Dunbar. But the circumstances that allowed this herculean campaign to continue was the result of Congressman Tom Garrett deciding not to seek re-election after the campaign season had ended. The 5th district committee would decide [4] the Republican nominee for the entire 5th Congressional District.

I am making no attempt to imply anything negative whatsoever about the folks on the committee, or in the district. I’m sure the chairman and the committee had many a stressful moment during this time.

When all was said and done, Denver Riggleman secured the nomination. He won … by one vote.

And he has been working [5] to represent the 5th Congressional District ever since.

The other key point the original article neglects to mention? The Shores also serve on official RPV Committees. Mr. Shores serves on the district committee, and the Mrs. is Chair of the Cumberland unit …or was the chair of Cumberland. Apparently, she is moving out of the county but, at her last meeting as chair, she felt it was more important [6] for the Cumberland unit to take action against Congressman Riggleman for something she knew he supported before he was elected.

Even though I think that move was intellectually dishonest, at best, that unit has the right to vote however it wishes. However, to do so because you and four of your friends are unsuccessful [7] on the district attempt is just not right. That opinion [8] is apparently shared by many.

Even the conservative [9] Washington Examiner described it:

This is embarrassing and petty.

Imagine holding such intolerance that you move to sanction a representative, whom you otherwise support, because he broke with the party platform in a small way, on his own time, on an issue where something like 40% of Republicans don’t agree with the party anyway, and the Supreme Court has ruled definitively against the party as well.” [emphasis added]

Very. Well. Said.

I have no problem with individuals who oppose same sex marriage for whatever reason. Everyone is entitled to what they believe. That is not what this is about. This is about stoking anger for political purposes, pure and simple.

But units and districts in the Virginia GOP are either going to be inclusive, or they are not. You cannot win elections by alienating the majority of voters. You should not win elections using campaign strategies that are not acceptable to use in conjunction with a party office you also hold. Just ask Dunbar.

The RPV should be well above win-at-all-cost people. Virginians deserve better. Congressman Riggleman is doing a good job for his constituents. Hopefully, he will hear from as many people who appreciate his service as he has from those angered by a Shores-directed outrage.