Ex-Liberty University Staffer Ousts GOP US House Rep

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:

Challenger Bob Good has ousted Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-5th in a rancorous drive-thru convention for the party’s nomination. Voting in the all-day convention at a church in Campbell County concluded at 7 p.m., but party officials did not announce the results until after 1 a.m.

Fifth District GOP chairman Melvin Adams said 2,537 delegates voted Saturday. Good said he received 58% of the tally.

Riggleman faced a backlash among some conservative activists in the sprawling district after he officiated in 2019 at a gay wedding for two men who had volunteered for his campaign. Riggleman, who touts a libertarian streak, says Republicans need to expand their base and have a “big tent” philosophy.

The Roanoke Times reports:

The two faced off at an unusual drive-thru convention at Tree of Life Ministries in Campbell County. After more than 10 hours of voting, 2,437 delegates cast ballots. Originally the convention was intended to take place indoors, but the coronavirus pandemic forced convention organizers to convert it to an outdoors contest.

People drove from all over the 5th Congressional District, which spans from Fauquier County to the North Carolina border and includes Franklin County and part of Bedford County, to participate in the convention at the church.

Cars weaved through the spacious parking lot so delegates could submit their ballots without getting out. More than 200 volunteers directed cars, handed out ballots and reviewed voter information. Few people volunteering to hand out ballots were wearing masks or gloves.

Roll Call reports:

Liberty University, an evangelical institution in Lynchburg, is deeply connected to Christian conservatives. Good worked there for 14 years, where he served as the executive director of the Flames Club, the athletics department’s fundraising program.

Riggleman said he was clear about his libertarian-leaning positions when he originally clinched the party’s nomination two years ago. He beat religious conservative Cynthia Dunbar by one vote at an emergency meeting held to replace Garrett, who had announced he was an alcoholic and would not seek reelection.

Some of Dunbar’s supporters led efforts to have Riggleman censured by the party after he officiated the wedding. They also worked on Good’s campaign.