Former GOP Congressman, Ousted after Officiating at a Same-Sex Marriage, Eyes Virginia Governorship

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday April 6, 2021
Originally published on April 6, 2021

Denver Riggleman
Denver Riggleman  (Source:AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Denver Riggleman used to be a congressman for Virginia. Then he officiated at the wedding of two men who had volunteered for his congressional campaign - and lost his seat to a fringe-right primary challenger. Now he's thinking about the Virginia governorship, The New York Times reports.

Riggleman isn't just an outlier in the Republican party due to his willingness to celebrate the love and commitment of a same-sex couple, the NYT article noted; he was also "one of only two Republicans in the chamber to speak in favor of a resolution denouncing QAnon" last October - a stand that resulted in members of his own family, as well as some among his constituents, calling him a "traitor."

"People are angry," Riggleman told the Times. "And they're angry at the truth tellers."

"Riggleman's detractors insisted at the time that the wedding wasn't the reason for the push against him, instead pointing to his votes on immigration and other issues," notes People Magazine. "But local party officials censured him over the wedding and the man who beat him, Bob Good, campaigned on his conservatism on LGBTQ issues.

Riggleman is not unfamiliar with people who cling to strange and extreme beliefs; he researched and wrote "Bigfoot... It's Complicated," a book about the enduring myth of the popular, and almost certainly fictitious, cryptozoological creature and its unshakeable believers.

"It's about money," People recalled Riggleman saying to the Washington Post in comments about Bigfoot and QAnon, explaining that the "grift" lies in seeking contributions to support "a mythological quest of things that can't be proven."

"And sometimes crazy and money live in the same space," Riggleman added.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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