|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Virginia's 5th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Tom Garrett|
Denver Lee Riggleman III
March 17, 1970
Manassas, Virginia, U.S.
|Education||Rowan College, Burlington|
University of Virginia (BA)
Denver Lee Riggleman III (born March 17, 1970) is an American businessman and politician from the Commonwealth of Virginia, currently serving as the U.S. Representative for Virginia's 5th Congressional District. A former U.S. Air Force officer and National Security Agency contractor, Riggleman opened a craft distillery in Virginia in 2014. He ran for the Republican Party nomination for Governor of Virginia in the 2017 gubernatorial election, but withdrew from the race.
Early life and education
In 2014, Riggleman and his wife opened Silverback Distillery, a craft distillery in Afton, Virginia, outside Charlottesville. The Shenandoah Valley facility encompasses 50 acres. Riggleman has pushed for deregulation of distilleries in the state and changes to the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control; together with other distillers, the Rigglemans established a "loosely formed distillers guild" and hired a lobbyist to press for changes. Riggleman has "criticized the state's alcohol and tax laws as unfairly harsh toward spirits producers and spoke[n] of a new 'whiskey rebellion.'"
In December 2016, Riggleman filed papers to seek the Republican nomination for governor of Virginia in the 2017 gubernatorial election. His opponents in the Republican primary were Republican strategist Ed Gillespie; Prince William County Board of Supervisors chairman Corey Stewart; and state Senator Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach. Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and former U.S. Representative Tom Perriello sought the Democratic nomination. Riggleman suspended his campaign on March 16, 2017.
2018 U.S. House campaign
In the 2018 elections, Riggleman was the Republican nominee for the United States House of Representatives election for Virginia's 5th congressional district. Riggleman defeated Cynthia Dunbar, who had lost the Republican nomination in the 6th district just weeks before, in the final round of voting to get the Republican nomination. In the November 2018 general election, Riggleman defeated Democratic nominee Leslie Cockburn, receiving 53% of the vote to Cockburn's 47%.
During the campaign, Cockburn accused Riggleman of being a "devotee of Bigfoot erotica", based on an image he shared from his Instagram to promote a book titled The Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him. In an interview with CRTV Riggleman stated that the image was an obvious joke, but that he had an interest in Bigfoot, and co-authored the actual self-published book Bigfoot Exterminators, Inc.: The Partially Cautionary, Mostly True Tale of Monster Hunt 2006, with ESPN writer Don Barone. In a phone interview with The Washington Post, he clarified that it was an "anthropological book sort of based on parody and satire" and said "I thought it was funny. There is no way that anybody's dumb enough to think this is real." Before stating that he did not want to alienate "Bigfoot voters," he said that he does "not believe that Bigfoot is real."
Riggleman is married to Christine Riggleman.
- Vozzella, Laura (March 16, 2017). "Populist candidate Denver Riggleman drops out of GOP race for Virginia governor". Washington Post.
- Portnoy, Jenna (December 28, 2016). "A fourth Republican enters the race for Virginia governor". Washington Post.
- Portnoy, Jenna (February 14, 2016). "Va.'s growing craft distillery industry pushes against regulatory roadblocks". Washington Post.
- Moomaw, Graham (December 10, 2016). "As Trump era dawns, 2017 Virginia GOP hopefuls court supporters at gathering in Richmond". Richmond Times-Dispatch.
- Schneider, Gregory S. (February 2, 2017). "In Va. race for governor, Northam faces Trump voters, aggressive opponent and his own genteel nature". Washington Post.
- WRABEL, ALLISON. "Riggleman selected as GOP nominee in 5th District". Retrieved September 12, 2018.
- "Virginia Election Results: Fifth House District". New York Times. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
- Stack, Liam (July 30, 2018). "'Bigfoot Erotica' Becomes an Issue in Virginia Congressional Campaign". New York Times.
- Charles, Ron (July 30, 2018). "What is Bigfoot erotica? A Virginia congressional candidate accused her opponent of being into it". The Washington Post.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Denver Riggleman.|
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority