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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accusation about a sexual interest in Bigfoot was absurd and acknowledged writing two books on Bigfoot, including an unpublished text called "The Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him," both of which he said were "parody" and stemmed from running jokes he had with friends from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: 156868

Reported Deaths: 3851
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10409104
Hinds10279202
Harrison7313112
Jackson6566128
Rankin5887106
Lee529496
Madison5014107
Forrest389786
Jones369088
Lauderdale3594147
Lafayette338253
Washington3246108
Lamar297850
Oktibbeha252362
Lowndes247064
Bolivar244384
Panola232653
Neshoba2249121
Marshall222851
Leflore208591
Monroe206778
Pontotoc204231
Lincoln197366
Sunflower192655
Warren180258
Tate177751
Union171926
Copiah167940
Pike165359
Yazoo160140
Scott159430
Itawamba157635
Alcorn155628
Pearl River155368
Coahoma152743
Simpson152653
Prentiss151331
Adams144752
Grenada143345
Leake139744
Holmes133461
Covington128639
Tippah128430
George128325
Winston125526
Hancock124341
Wayne121323
Marion119446
Attala119334
Tishomingo112443
Chickasaw109432
Newton108229
Tallahatchie98127
Clay94727
Clarke93653
Jasper85223
Stone80615
Calhoun78713
Walthall77629
Montgomery76926
Carroll74115
Lawrence73814
Smith73216
Yalobusha73128
Noxubee72717
Perry68326
Tunica62619
Greene61522
Jefferson Davis59017
Claiborne58916
Amite56615
Humphreys54719
Benton50018
Quitman5007
Webster46714
Kemper45018
Wilkinson40522
Jefferson37112
Choctaw3617
Franklin3555
Sharkey32417
Issaquena1204
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 252900

Reported Deaths: 3638
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33526501
Mobile20103365
Madison13723151
Tuscaloosa13366154
Montgomery12552236
Shelby1079677
Baldwin9051137
Lee787266
Morgan696451
Calhoun6598121
Etowah656167
Marshall647357
Houston541038
DeKalb498137
Cullman462443
St. Clair441956
Limestone440445
Lauderdale426754
Elmore421164
Walker3735111
Talladega370157
Jackson340423
Colbert332042
Blount306140
Autauga281842
Franklin257434
Coffee250015
Dale239054
Dallas231532
Chilton228939
Russell22663
Covington225034
Escambia202331
Tallapoosa187291
Chambers182750
Pike161514
Clarke161019
Marion144736
Winston137523
Lawrence133436
Pickens126518
Geneva12508
Marengo123424
Bibb120418
Barbour118911
Butler118642
Randolph105522
Cherokee105124
Hale98131
Fayette94616
Washington93219
Clay92824
Henry8896
Monroe83011
Lowndes80929
Cleburne78814
Macon75522
Crenshaw72230
Bullock70119
Lamar7018
Conecuh70014
Perry6916
Wilcox64818
Sumter58622
Greene43518
Choctaw43114
Coosa3664
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