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A GOP Congressman Officiated a wedding that is same-Sex. Now He Faces A Primary Challenge

A GOP Congressman Officiated a wedding that is same-Sex. Now He Faces A Primary Challenge

Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Va., center, officiates the wedding of Alex Pisciarino, left, and Rek LeCounte, appropriate, in July 2019. A number of Riggleman’s Republican opponents have actually seized on Riggleman’s choice to officiate a wedding that is same-sex argue he could be out of action because of the GOP. Jamie Sivinski/Mirage Photography hide caption

Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Va., center, officiates the wedding of Alex Pisciarino, left, and Rek LeCounte, appropriate, in July 2019. A number of Riggleman’s Republican opponents have actually seized on Riggleman’s decision to officiate a same-sex wedding to argue he is away from action aided by the GOP.

Alex Pisciarino and Rek LeCounte’s big day final July had been hot — the sort of soupy mid-summer temperature that slows the South to a crawl.

“We warned everybody to put on seersucker and some light textile, ” LeCounte stated. “And some people did not did not pay attention to us and also you could inform the way they want that they had. “

The couple ended up being hitched by Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Va., whom represents Charlottesville and southwestern Virginia. They would volunteered for Riggleman’s 2018 campaign that is congressional liked their libertarian model of conservatism.

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“I would are a coward if i did not, ” Riggleman stated for the demand in a job interview. “The Republican Party could be the party of Lincoln, we’re the celebration of specific freedom. “

But it is additionally the celebration whoever 2016 national platform called wedding between a person and girl “the inspiration for a totally free culture. ” A 2019 Pew poll discovered around 45percent of Republican voters help same-sex wedding, number who has steadily increased as time passes.

The marriage sparked a backlash and nomination challenge from Bob Good that could cost Riggleman their seat when neighborhood Republicans people meet this week-end for a convention to ratify their party’s applicants this autumn’s election. Once and for all, a born-again evangelical Christian and previous Liberty University athletics manager, Riggleman’s laissez-faire way of marriage that is same-sex emblematic of failings that produce him unfit for workplace.

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It’s not marriage that is just same-sex. In a debate with Riggleman final month on WINA, Good reported his competing harbors liberal tendencies.

“He’s away from action because of the foot of the celebration on life, ” Good said. “He’s away from action on wedding. He is away from action on immigration. He is away from step on medical care, on weather, on medication legalization. “

It might not make a difference that President Donald Trump tweeted in December that Riggleman had his “Total Endorsement, ” or that Riggleman has thus far raised eight times just as much money as his challenger.

Congressman @Denver4VA Riggleman is a genuine leader that is CONSERVATIVE has been doing a best wishes for Virginia and can support our #MAGA Agenda. He defends our straight to keep hands, protect our Borders & assist small enterprises. Denver has my Total Recommendation!

Virginia enables governmental parties to decide on between a nominating that is party-run or even a main. Riggleman’s fate rests with roughly 3,500 celebration activists at a drive-in convention set for Saturday.

The number that is relatively small of could suggest Riggleman is within difficulty, in accordance with Kyle Kondik, handling editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball in the University of Virginia Center for Politics.


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“It limits the folks who are able to take part to people that are included Republican activists that are more conservative also than your typical Republican voter that is primary” Kondik stated.

Riggleman was initially elected to Congress in 2018. If beaten in the main, the southwestern Virginia region he represents could possibly be a challenge for Republicans to put on. Jamie Sivinski/Mirage Photography Studios hide caption

Riggleman was elected to Congress in 2018. If defeated in the main, the southwestern Virginia region he represents might be a challenge for Republicans to put up.

The danger for everyone celebration activists, Kondik said, is the fact that Good might be a less attractive candidate into the election that is general. Kondik stated Republicans curently have an uphill climb retaking the House of Representatives. In the event that GOP needs to spend some money to improve Good in an area that Trump won by 13 points, he believes that climb might be also steeper.

“They appear really swept up in this marriage that is gay once I think lots of Republicans — and a whole lot conservatives — have managed to move on from it, ” Kondik stated.

On key votes related to LGBTQ legal legal rights, Riggleman in addition has stuck towards the celebration line. He voted against Democratic efforts to enshrine orientation that is sexual gender as protected classes in anti-discrimination law, and voted against a resolution that condemned Trump’s ban on permitting transgender visitors to provide within the army.

Republicans haven’t won a statewide chair in Virginia since 2009 — an expression, Kondik said, of the unwillingness to elect more moderate prospects that could be palatable to a diversifying state.

For months following the wedding, Pisciarino and LeCounte had been inundated with communications. Some individuals questioned their credentials that are conservative calling them “sodomites, ” and arguing that same-sex partners could maybe not represent a family group.

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Others, nevertheless, told them that getting to learn they have been caused by the to show a part. For LeCounte, the aftermath strengthened their resolve to re-elect Riggleman to obtain a message out: “You can help LGBT equality whilst still being be a staunch conservative, and, shock, surprise, get elected and win elections. “

First, Riggleman needs to clear Saturday’s meeting vote. The choice to hold a meeting rather than a far more available primary had been produced by a district committee that is powerful. Two people in the committee have obtained re payments from Good’s campaign.

“there is nothing incorrect with individuals from the district committee supporting or doing work for prospects, ” Good told Charlottesville talk radio station WINA in an interview in April. “All it offers to complete is be disclosed. “

Riggleman said the ongoing party meeting procedure is corrupt and stated he will never commit to endorsing Good if he is defeated.

“They understand they can not beat me personally virtually any means, ” Riggleman stated. “somewhere else, that might be called bribery. “

Some Democrats see the opportunity. Four candidates have arranged to just take the winner on of Saturday’s meeting. All have raised more income than Good yet not Riggleman.

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