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Republican Rep. Scott Rigell says he supports Libertarian Gary Johnson for president

By Jenna Portnoy

August 6, 2016 at 7:18 PM

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) talks with reporters on Sept. 1, 2013,  on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) will vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson for president, adding to the list of Republicans breaking with GOP nominee Donald Trump.

Rigell, who is retiring at the end of his term after six years in office, is the first member of Congress to support the third-party candidate, according to the New York Times, which first reported the endorsement Saturday.

Rigell's spokeswoman, Kaylin Minton, confirmed the Times's report but declined further comment.

The congressman said in March that he would not vote for Trump.

"I believe that Republican voters have got a reason to be upset and angry, but I'm submitting to them that the solution is not Donald Trump in any respect," he told CNN at the time.

Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, also has the support of former representative Tom Campbell, a Republican from California, according to his website.

Related: [What the departures of two Va. congressmen say about the state of their party]

Rigell, a former car salesman, has bucked the GOP establishment in the past and worked with Democrats to ban straw purchases of guns, to oppose stopgap funding measures and to challenge President Obama's actions in Syria.

Forty percent of primary voters in his Virginia Beach district favored Trump in the primary, and the region, home to a high percentage of servicemen and women and retired military personnel, is key to Trump's Virginia strategy.

Related: [With Forbes’s defeat, Virginia’s delegation to Congress grows less experienced]

State Del. Scott Taylor (R-Virginia Beach), a former Navy SEAL, defeated Rep. J. Randy Forbes in the June Republican primary, and he is the favorite to win the general election in the Republican-leaning district.

Rigell backed Forbes, who switched districts after a court-imposed elections map added Democrats to Forbes's district.

Taylor has capitalized on the same national hunger for an insurgent candidate that has helped propel Trump, and adopted a similar slogan: "Let's all make American great again."


Jenna Portnoy covers Virginia, Maryland and D.C. politics for The Washington Post. She previously worked for the Newark Star-Ledger and the Allentown Morning Call, and has been a newspaper reporter since 2001.

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Post Politics

Republican Rep. Scott Rigell says he supports Libertarian Gary Johnson for president

By Jenna Portnoy

August 6, 2016 at 7:18 PM

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) talks with reporters on Sept. 1, 2013,  on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) will vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson for president, adding to the list of Republicans breaking with GOP nominee Donald Trump.

Rigell, who is retiring at the end of his term after six years in office, is the first member of Congress to support the third-party candidate, according to the New York Times, which first reported the endorsement Saturday.

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