Denver Riggleman, an Air Force Veteran and small business owner, has ended his long shot campaign to be Virginia’s next governor.
“Our message was resonating around the state, we have been finishing atop almost every straw and online poll, we were catching fire.” Riggleman posted on social media. “This has been amazing, but it’s not over yet.”
Riggleman, a distillery owner who has never previously held elected office, had called his outsider campaign the “Whiskey Rebellion.” A late entrant to the race, had not gained the traction or name recognition of his fellow Republican contenders.
“Based on business considerations, resource shortages, and family health issues, I have no other choice but to suspend my campaign for Governor today,” Riggleman posted. “I want to thank everyone who has supported me, and those that were willing to donate to our cause. Their sacrifices will not be in vein, because the Whiskey Rebellion will continue. Stay tuned.”
Riggleman’s departure leaves three candidates left for the GOP nomination for governor ahead of the June 13 primary. Former GOP chair Ed Gillespie has been the favorite for most of the race, and polls show him still with sizable leads over Prince William Board of Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart and state Sen. Frank Wagner.
“I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with Denver on the campaign trail and it confirmed for me what I thought when he got into this race: He is a good man who is concerned about the size and scope of government like I am,” Gillespie said in a statement. “He has been a voice for Virginians who feel left behind and ignored by government, or worse. I know that Denver will continue to find ways to serve our Commonwealth and our country.”
Rob Wittman, who represents Virginia’s first congressional district, dropped out of the race late last year. The winner of the GOP primary will face either former representative Tom Perriello or incumbent Lt. Gov Ralph Northam from the Democratic party in the Nov. 7 general election.