Had Republicans held a primary, Riggleman would almost surely have won hands down. But local party leaders agreed on a caucus to choose the nominee and the sole site for drive-by voting was a church in Lynchburg. (The 5th District stretches from the North Carolina border to the Washington, D.C. suburbs).
About 3,000 Republicans drove by the church to cast ballots in its parking lot. On Sunday, District Chairman Melvin Adams announced that Good was the winner by a margin of 58 to 42 percent.
Most press reports said that the libertarian-leaning Riggleman’s much-publicized decision to officiate at the same-sex marriage of two former campaign volunteers was the key to his undoing.
Beyond this one act, there was little in Riggleman’s record to cause controversy. The freshman congressman voted with President Trump 95 per cent of the time and was a member of the conservative House Republican Freedom Caucus.
But Good also had other “red meat” issues with which to rally supporters. He opposed abortion under any circumstances, backed English as the official U.S. language, and wanted an end to birthright citizenship. Good also had the services of the redoubtable political husband-and-wife team of Chris and Diana Shores, who have a record in mastery of convention politics.
“They’re the new Bonnie and Clyde of Virginia convention politics,” observed Northern Virginia radio talk show host John Fredericks, a top Trump operative in the Old Dominion State.
For his part, Riggleman made clear he is not going gently into the night. Following the announcement that he had lost to Good, the congressman claimed he had received reports of “voting irregularities” and “ballot stuffing.”
“We are evaluating all our options at this time,” he tweeted Saturday.