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'Bigfoot erotica' takes center stage in Virginia congressional race

In one of the more bizarre episodes of the midterm elections this year, the race for Virginia's 5th Congressional Dis...

Posted: Jul 31, 2018 7:40 AM
Updated: Jul 31, 2018 7:40 AM

In one of the more bizarre episodes of the midterm elections this year, the race for Virginia's 5th Congressional District has come down to a fight over "Bigfoot erotica" and whether one candidate is into it.

Democratic candidate Leslie Cockburn tweeted on Sunday that, in addition to campaigning with a white supremacist, Republican candidate Denver Riggleman was "a devotee of Bigfoot erotica" -- both charges that Riggleman denied in an interview with CNN.

"My opponent Denver Riggleman, running mate of Corey Stewart, was caught on camera campaigning with a white supremacist. Now he has been exposed as a devotee of Bigfoot erotica. This is not what we need on Capitol Hill," Cockburn tweeted along with a photo of a nude Bigfoot, apparently from Riggleman's Instagram.

Riggleman, however, told CNN that the accusation about a sexual interest in Bigfoot was absurd and acknowledged writing two books on Bigfoot, including an unpublished text called "The Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him," both of which he said were "parody" and stemmed from running jokes he had with friends from the military.

Riggleman also said did not believe in Bigfoot, but added that he did not want to "alienate" the Bigfoot vote and said the entire thing was a joke that his opponent had seized upon unfairly.

"I think we probably jumped the shark on stupid," Riggleman said.

Riggleman's Bigfoot history seemed to have first gained traction after The Cook Political Report noted it in its recent overview of House races. The report pointed out that the Facebook author page for the Bigfoot book had recently been deleted and that Riggleman's Instagram was set to private, but used to be "peppered with images of what can only be described as Bigfoot-themed erotic art."

In a statement, Cockburn campaign manager Louise Bruce accused Riggleman of "scrubbing his social media of 'Bigfoot erotica' and who knows what else."

Riggleman said they put his Instagram on private to avoid "weird comments," but at this point that was past them, so they would look at making the account public again.

As the Bigfoot story gained traction online, the Riggleman campaign seemed to lean into it by sharing a video from conservative libertarian activist Matt Kibbe posted on Monday afternoon in which Riggleman played up the strange news cycle and went into a pretty extensive explanation about different "Bigfoot belief systems."

"Check out this video on my research into the Bigfoot myth," Riggelman tweeted. "I sure don't know what Bigfoot Erotica is, @LeslieCockburn knows more about that than I do apparently - but I can talk about Bigfoot theories all day. See the video here #bigfoot #va05."

Racism accusation

As indicated by Cockburn's tweet, the race has been one of the flashpoints in Virginia politics this cycle, particularly in reference to the Senate race between Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine and Republican nominee Corey Stewart. Stewart has come under fire for incendiary remarks on the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year and his defense of Confederate symbols.

Cockburn's accusation toward Riggleman about campaigning with a white supremacist seemed to reference a post on the progressive website "Blue Virginia," and attributed to the Virginia Democratic Party, that said Riggleman had campaigned alongside an avowed white supremacist.

Riggleman wrote an op-ed in The Roanoke Times last week disavowing white supremacy and the racist demonstrators in Charlottesville, the site of deadly white supremacist violence last year. Riggleman referenced the op-ed when asked by CNN about the accusations and said he did not know if the person he was accused of campaigning with, Isaac Smith, was a white nationalist, adding that he thought Smith was "just a kid."

A report in The Washington Post named Smith as co-founding a group, Unity and Security for America (USA)," with Jason Kessler, who organized the Charlottesville rally last year. The Post describes the organization as "a fledgling group that calls for 'defending Western Civilization.'"

The Virginia congressional seat became an open race after GOP Rep. Tom Garrett announced he would not seek re-election and intended to seek treatment for alcoholism. Republicans ultimately opted to field Riggleman, the owner of a local distillery, and Democrats went with Cockburn, a longtime journalist who worked for several major news networks.

The district contains the city of Charlottesville and leans relatively Republican. Garrett won his election with a healthy margin in 2016, and CNN has labeled the race "likely Republican" in its House ratings.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 341862

Reported Deaths: 7533
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23783441
DeSoto23180283
Harrison20365329
Rankin15307290
Jackson15087251
Madison10917227
Lee10674179
Jones8969169
Forrest8621159
Lauderdale7839243
Lowndes7016151
Lamar696289
Lafayette6535124
Washington5589139
Pearl River5141152
Bolivar4949134
Oktibbeha491698
Panola4766112
Warren4709127
Marshall4691106
Pontotoc446273
Union432579
Monroe4322137
Neshoba4268181
Hancock423788
Lincoln4171116
Pike3650113
Leflore3619125
Tate352888
Alcorn349574
Sunflower347194
Adams340588
Scott340176
Yazoo338575
Copiah323468
Simpson322090
Itawamba314180
Coahoma313385
Tippah304768
Prentiss297863
Covington291883
Leake284675
Marion283681
Wayne276143
George270551
Grenada268888
Newton261564
Tishomingo239370
Winston236584
Jasper229548
Attala225973
Stone225337
Chickasaw218760
Holmes199274
Clay196754
Clarke186280
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181232
Smith178935
Yalobusha171340
Walthall145348
Lawrence141626
Greene139734
Amite136943
Noxubee134835
Perry133238
Montgomery132244
Carroll125931
Webster121032
Jefferson Davis116234
Tunica113427
Benton106225
Claiborne105031
Kemper102329
Humphreys100133
Franklin87723
Quitman84619
Choctaw82319
Wilkinson77732
Jefferson71128
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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