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Former Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman considering independent run for governor

Former Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman of Virginia says he’s considering running for governor in 2025. Only this time as an independent.

“I haven’t ruled it out 100%, a run for governor,” Riggleman told The Daily Progress on Wednesday at an event promoting his book “Breach,” an account of his time serving on the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.

Riggleman formally announced he had left the Republican party in June 2022, two years after losing the party’s primary for his 5th District seat to Bob Good. Riggleman, who served one term in the House of Representatives, had faced backlash within the GOP for officiating the same-sex wedding of two men who had volunteered for his 2018 campaign. He also had been a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump, who Good supported, and what he calls “ludicrous” Republican politics.

“I think if I ever ran again it would be for an executive position,” Riggleman told the crowd on Wednesday gathered at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge for the event hosted by the Senior Statesmen of Virginia.

Riggleman was explicit with The Daily Progress that “executive position” does not mean president.

If Riggleman made a run for governor, it would not be his first bid for the Executive Mansion.

Riggleman filed paperwork in December 2016 to be the Republican Party’s gubernatorial nominee but suspended his campaign in March 2017.

He previously floated the idea of running for governor as a third-party candidate or an independent in July of 2020.

A congressional run is out of the question, Riggleman said.

“I’d rather light myself on fire,” he told his audience on Wednesday.

Riggleman, who owns Silverback Distillery in Nelson County with his wife, said what drives him to remain in politics is also what frustrates him most about politics.

“It’s the disingenuous way that policies are presented,” Riggleman told The Daily Progress. “When you’re looking at women’s choice, when you’re looking at children, religion, things like that. It seems to be either-or or tribalistic.”

Regardless of whether he seeks the governorship, Riggleman said he hopes the commonwealth sees future public servants more interested in the service than the publicity.

“I would want people that were willing to work across the aisle for the betterment of the commonwealth and not just so they can fundraise more or so they can be a national figure so they get more TikTok users,” Riggleman said.

In the meantime, Riggleman said his work is focused on combatting disinformation.

The former congressman has served as an intelligence officer in the Air Force as well as a National Security Agency contractor.

He is also one of only two Republicans who spoke in support of a 2020 resolution denouncing the QAnon conspiracy group, whose followers say that a satanic cabal of child molesters runs the government.

“I do have some things that go up to pretty high levels of government that we’re working on right now, that will be coming out here soon,” Riggleman said.


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