Josh Throneburg, an ordained minister and small-business owner, has claimed the Democratic nomination for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District.
Throneburg announced he had received the nomination Tuesday after his opponents, Andy Parker and Warren McClellan, reportedly did not turn in enough valid signatures to make it on the ballot.
“This campaign is going to work ridiculously hard, and having two and a half extra months now creates a lot of opportunity to get out there and get our message to voters,” Throneburg said in an interview with the Daily Progress. “I grew up on a farm in a farming family in a farming community, and so in a district that is really agricultural I hope someone like me can go out and connect with those people in a way that’s really authentic.”
Throneburg said he did not know much about why Parker had not qualified, and said he received a call Tuesday from the chair of 5th District Democratic Committee informing him that he was the nominee.
Parker’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment but told The Washington Post Wednesday that staff members would be taking “a few days to perform a forensic audit on our petition signatures. When that is complete we will explore our options.” Parker’s campaign social media pages have gone silent since Throneburg announced he secured the nomination.
Candidates seeking to be on the June 21 primary ballot had until April 7 to turn in 1,000 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, according to party guidelines. Parker submitted 1,093, but only 937 were certified, according to comments made by Patricia Harper-Tunley, chair for the 5th District Democratic Committee, to the Cardinal News. Harper-Tunley also did not respond to a request for comment and clarification.
Parker announced his plan to seek the nomination in January, highlighting his efforts to support gun control measures in the wake of the 2015 on-air murder of his daughter, journalist Alison Parker.
In a recent candidate forum in Goochland County, both Throneburg and Parker pledged to support the other and not run as a third party candidate if they did not receive the nomination.
According to Throneburg, key issues of his campaign are: combating climate change; expanding access to high-quality, affordable healthcare; expanding access to broadband into rural communities; and increasing funding to public education.
In order to spread his message, Throneburg said his campaign is traveling across the district to talk to young and rural voters who may not often hear from their federal representatives.
“Climate change is priority one for me and young people are the primary stakeholders in that conversation because they’re the ones who are going to live with that,” he said. “I think focusing on those young people and focusing on those rural, often overlooked communities that feel ignored is definitely the heart of the campaign.”
The district had been set for a June 21 Democratic primary, though that appears unlikely to happen following Throneburg’s announcement. This is also the first election since the 5th District was changed during a once-a-decade redistricting that saw the district shift slightly south and east. The district now includes the counties of Fluvanna, Louisa and Goochland as well as a portion of Henrico County.
Virginia’s 5th Congressional District has not elected a Democrat since Tom Perriello in 2008, who campaigned in a district that looks very different to the current one.
The district is currently represented by Bob Good, a Republican and former Liberty University Athletics official. Good won the 2020 election after ousting the incumbent Republican representative, Denver Riggleman, during a controversial Republican convention marred by interparty strife.
Good will face Charlottesville attorney Dan Moy for the district’s Republican nomination during a convention on May 21.