Virginia distillery owner Denver Riggleman, who is running to replace the outgoing Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA), told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on Friday why, if elected to Congress, he would want to join the House Freedom Caucus, saying that the caucus is “focused on transparency, liberty, and fighting for the middle class.”
Riggleman said, “The House Freedom Caucus is all about transparency, individual liberties, and you know what it’s really all about? It’s about people keeping more of their money. You have a caucus that’s focused on transparency, liberty, and fighting for the middle class. When you saw what Tom Garrett did, what Jim Jordan does, what the Freedom Caucus does, it would be a very exciting caucus to join. You’re going to go war for everybody that’s trying to make a living.”
Riggleman hopes to secure the nomination to replace the outgoing Rep. Garrett. Garrett, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, who announced on Monday that he will not seek re-election, citing his struggle with alcoholism and wish to focus on his recovery and his family.
Riggleman said in a statement on Friday:
Today, I am pledging that I will join the House Freedom Caucus. The House Freedom Caucus is not about opportunism, or manipulating people and process for a specific end. The House Freedom Caucus is about always supporting liberty, transparency, and resisting any control measures foisted on constituents by outside actors.
I am running for Congress to represent the 5th District. I will listen to the people of the 5th District. If the 5th District and I differ on an issue, unless it violates my core principles of freedom and transparency, I will yield to the will of the 5th District… because that is the next Congressman’s job. I am not going up there to join “the team.”
Will all contenders make the same pledge?
Members of the Virginia Republican party’s fifth district committee will choose on Saturday, June 2, their nominee to face off against Democratic nominee Leslie Cockburn.
Riggleman, a former Air Force intelligence officer and the owner of the Virginia-based Silverback Distillery, has fought to replace Rep. Garrett and serve as another conservative member in Congress.
The Silverback Distillery owner cast himself as the anti-establishment candidate this week when he announced his candidacy.
“As we have all seen over the past few years, it takes a real outsider with real-world experience to drag the swamp monsters to dry land,” Riggleman said this week. “As a veteran and small business owner, I am perfectly suited for that task.”
Virginia Republican State Sen. Bill Stanley announced Thursday that he will also run to replace Garrett. House Republican leadership reportedly approached Stanely to run for Congress at the last minute to replace the former Freedom Caucus member, making the race between the anti-establishment Riggleman and the establishment candidate Stanley.
Riggleman told Breitbart News that given Stanley’s political experience at the state level, it would not be surprising that someone would recruit him to run for Congress.
The former intelligence officer said, “I realized when you look at internal politics, it’s worse than what I’ve negotiated in eastern Europe. In internal politics, you don’t always know who you’re dealing with. I’ve met Bill and he’s a great guy, I think a lot of people also asked me to run, but trust me it was not anyone from a Republican national position. I think Bill, from his political background, someone probably asked him to run.”
“The integrity of the district committee is without question,” Riggleman added. “They’re going to pick whoever is best for the district and not just who they’re told who to pick. The 5th district is called the ‘fighting fifth’ and I don’t think it’s going to make much of a difference anyway.”
The Republican candidate then told Breitbart News that he personally has seen how much the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has benefited his business and he hopes that, if elected to Congress, he can help to make the individual tax cuts permanent.
Riggleman explained, “Since the Trump tax cuts, we’ve [his business] been able to see a $7,000 per month difference since the tax cuts at the federal level. Policy makes a good difference at the federal level. People can keep more of their money and there’s more transparency. It’s been amazing to see what the individual tax cuts and the corporate tax cuts have done. They’ve been a boon to the economy.”