RICHMOND — Seems like President Trump doesn’t have any trouble picturing Denver Riggleman in Congress.
As he endorsed Riggleman this week for an open Virginia congressional seat, the president referred to the Republican newcomer as the incumbent.
“Congressman @DenverRiggleman of the 5th District in Virginia is a popular guy who really knows how to get the job done!” Trump tweeted at 10:50 p.m. Monday. “Really big help with Tax Cuts, the Military and our great Vets. He has my Total Endorsement!”
The president also got Riggleman’s Twitter handle wrong.
Riggleman, a Nelson County distillery owner and former Air Force intelligence officer, is competing against Democrat Leslie Cockburn, a former “60 Minutes” producer and author, for the 5th Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Thomas Garrett (R).
Fifteen minutes after Trump’s first tweet came his do-over. The president dropped the “Congressman” title but still credited Riggleman for “Really big help” with legislation he could not have voted on.
Twitter quickly filled with retorts. “You have no idea who these people are whom you’re endorsing” tweeted @SallyDeal4.
The Democratic Party of Virginia jumped on the flubs.
“Like Donald Trump and his embarrassing Twitter endorsement, Denver Riggleman and his flailing campaign for Congress just can’t seem to get anything right,” the party said in an email.
Riggleman spokesman Jimmy Keady said Trump was just getting ahead of himself.
“President Trump was actually foreshadowing that Denver is going to be the next congressman from Nelson County,” he said.
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 — Trump won the district by 11 percentage points in 2016 even as he lost the state as a whole by more than 5 points — but Cockburn hopes antipathy toward Trump among Democrats and moderate Republicans will help her overcome the 5th’s natural tilt.
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report says the race “leans Republican.”
Garrett announced in the spring that he was struggling with alcoholism and would not seek reelection to focus on recovery and his family.