RICHMOND — White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders will travel to Virginia on Friday to stump for Republican Denver Riggleman, a distillery owner and former Air Force intelligence officer running for Congress in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District.
Sanders will headline an hour-long event with Riggleman at 9:30 a.m. at the Fauquier County GOP headquarters in Warrenton.
Riggleman and Democrat Leslie Cockburn, a former “60 Minutes” producer and author, are two political newcomers vying for the seat being vacated by Rep. Thomas Garrett (R). Garrett announced in the spring that he was struggling with alcoholism and would not seek a second term.
The mostly rural district stretches from wealthy Northern Virginia exurbs to the North Carolina line with a few college towns in the mix. It has been solidly red territory — President Trump won it by 11 percentage points in 2016, even as he lost the state as a whole by more than five points.
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report says the race “leans Republican.”
Cockburn hopes antipathy toward Trump among Democrats and moderate Republicans will help her overcome the 5th’s natural tilt. She has premised much of her campaign on resistance to Trump, including his failed effort to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act and his policy of separating young undocumented immigrants from their parents at the nation’s southern border.
Riggleman, who was endorsed by Trump, has approached the president with more nuance. He supports the Trump’s tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks but disagrees with him in some areas, including efforts to undermine the ACA’s protections for people with preexisting medical conditions. He has called for tighter border controls but also said that separating families should be avoided.