Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA-05) announced that he was forming an exploratory committee to run for governor of Virginia in the 2021 gubernatorial election.
The first-term congressman and former intelligence officer made the announcement during an appearance on Virginia Free radio hosted by Chris Saxman on the John Fredericks Radio Network.
“Today is the first day I really looked into an exploratory committee and who I want on it and I’m starting to sort of dig down on what I want to do,” Riggleman said on the show. “I’m not going to be managed too much, but I actually want smart people in the room, smarter than me on some policy issues, that can help me sort of flesh out what I want to be If I do that for the Commonwealth, and what the chances are really. I want to prepare the battlefield this time and make sure that I know what’s coming.”
Riggleman said that he is looking into PAC names and when to file the paperwork and that he spoke with a few people trying to get an honest outlook of his chances to win the election.
The congressman also mentioned running as an independent-mind Republican.
Riggleman did not respond to a request for comment from The Virginia Star by the time of publication.
If Riggleman decides to officially run for governor, it would most likely be as a third-party independent candidate after being censured by the Rappahannock County Republican Party for abandoning the party’s principles on spending and immigration.
Riggleman’s office argues that he was censured by the party for presiding over a same-sex marriage between two friends, however.
Because of the friction between Riggleman and Republicans, party leaders decided to determine the 2020 nominee by convention instead of a primary election. Riggleman lost the GOP nomination to challenger Bob Good, a former athletics official at Liberty University, by a wide margin with Good getting 58 percent of the vote to Riggleman’s 42 percent.
Virginia Senator and Republican gubernatorial candidate Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield County) is definitely not concerned about Riggleman potentially entering the race.
“Denver Riggleman can’t even win his own congressional seat in a primary, so now he wants to run for Governor?” Chase told The Star over text. “Makes perfect sense if you’re delusional. Just wait. The Republican establishment elite will all get behind their pay-to-play candidate and yet again I will win.”
Riggleman briefly ran for governor in 2017 as a Republican against Ed Gillespie, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, and two others before dropping out in March.
“If I go in with my eyes wide open, I think I’ve got a chance to do something maybe great for people, and the people around me are going to be great and doing the same thing, so what if we had a team effort to try to give people an option,” Riggleman said on the show. “It’s just an exciting thing to think about.”
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Jacob Taylor is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network. Follow Jacob on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Amadeust. CC BY-SA 3.0.